Recognizing and Treating Conjunctivitis

By Jeffrey Schultz on March 27, 2013

Cleveland Conjunctivitis TreatmentAt Lifetime Eye Care, Cleveland optometrist Jeffrey E. Schultz provides comprehensive eye care for the entire family. Dr. Schultz believes in combining personal care and experience with advanced eye technology to provide patients with the most thorough eye care. For our patients in Cleveland, eye care involves eye exams, diagnosis and treatment for vision impairment, and diagnosis and treatment of ocular conditions. If more extensive care is required (such as eye surgery), Dr. Schultz makes sure that patients are referred to an experienced specialist. One condition we see rather frequently, that can often be treated here at Lifetime Eye Care, is conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is a somewhat common (although irritating) condition that can be diagnosed and treated by Dr. Schultz.

Causes of Conjunctivitis

The most common form of conjunctivitis is caused by a virus. This form of conjunctivitis is more commonly known as “pink eye” and is likely to pass through schools (especially in younger children), as it is highly contagious. Although this is the most common cause of conjunctivitis, there are actually many other possible causes, including,

  • Allergies
  • Bacteria
  • Some diseases
  • Extended use of contact lenses

Because the eyes are continually exposed to bacteria and other irritants, they are vulnerable to infections such as conjunctivitis.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

Although conjunctivitis is not considered a serious condition, it does cause symptoms that can be irritating and uncomfortable for patients. As the name “pink eye” suggests, the most common symptom is bright pink or even redness, in the whites of the eyes. In addition, conjunctivitis is likely to result in the following symptoms:

  • Discharge from the eye
  • Crust that forms on the eyelids (usually overnight)
  • Blurry vision
  • Itchy eyes
  • Dry, gritty eyes
  • Discomfort
  • Increased tearing

If any of these symptoms are being experienced, Dr. Schultz can diagnose conjunctivitis by performing an eye exam and/or analyzing a swab of the eye.

Treating Conjunctivitis

The symptoms and discomfort of conjunctivitis can be soothed by the use of warm compresses. It is best to wet a washcloth with warm water and apply to the eyes when they are closed. Further treatment will be determined based on the cause of conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis caused by allergies will likely be treated with allergy medication such as antihistamines. Viral conjunctivitis should resolve on its own, but in most cases, treatment will be given to prevent the development of bacterial conjunctivitis. The most common form of treatment is anti-bacterial eye drops that should be applied to the eye according to prescription instructions. Conjunctivitis typically responds very well to treatment. The main concern is preventing spreading or re-infection. It is important to wash hands frequently, change pillowcases frequently, and keep the hands away from the eyes so that conjunctivitis is not spread.

Schedule an Appointment

Whether you or a family member is suffering from symptoms that may be a result of conjunctivitis or you are just looking for comprehensive eye care for you and your family, Dr. Jeffrey E. Schultz can help. Dr. Schultz has the education and experience to ensure that you are receiving the highest quality eye care. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Schultz at your earliest convenience to receive a comprehensive eye exam.

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