How to Protect You and Your Family from Pinkeye

Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common and highly treatable eye conditions.  More than three million adults and children in the U.S. contract pinkeye every year.

Pinkeye occurs when the thin, clear tissue under the eyelid, known as the conjunctiva, becomes inflamed.  This inflammation makes the blood vessels in the eye more visible, giving them a pink appearance.  People who develop pinkeye typically experience pain, or feel a burning or itchy sensation. Their eyes may also tear and form a discharge that crusts while sleeping.  Other symptoms may include swelling, tenderness or sensitivity to light.

There are several causes for pinkeye, but it is most commonly either viral, which is the most contagious form, or due to a bacterial infection. Other factors that can lead to pinkeye include exposure to irritants such as shampoo, cosmetics, dirt, or pool chlorine, an allergic reaction to pollen, dust, or smoke, or a reaction to eye drops or contact lenses.  Usually a doctor can diagnose pinkeye through a routine examination.

Treating pinkeye depends on the cause of the condition.  In most cases it is treated by administering artificial tears, which can be purchased over-the-counter, to treat the dryness and cold compresses to treat inflammation. If pinkeye has developed due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. Symptoms of pinkeye typically last anywhere from one to two weeks.

To avoid contracting pinkeye, take the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
  • Avoid sharing towels, blankets, and pillowcases.
  • Do not share eye makeup, face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses or containers, or eyeglasses.

In rare cases pinkeye can lead to complications. Please see a doctor if you experience moderate to severe pain your eyes, if you have problems with your vision, or if symptoms persist or worsen over time.

To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Do You Have Dry, Itchy, Irritated Eyes?

There are a number of ailments that can cause your eyes to be red, dry and itchy.  The two most common are Pinkeye and Dry Eye Syndrome.

Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, is the redness and swelling of the mucous membrane that lines the lid and surface of the eye causing a discharge and can be caused by many things including, but not limited to, an infection, dry eyes from lack of tears or over exposure to wind and sun, chemicals, allergies and smoke.

Pinkeye is very common, is usually not serious, can be viral or bacterial, is highly contagious and can spread very easily. Therefore, preventing its spread is important.

There are home remedies such as removing your contacts and applying cold or warm compresses. These remedies may help reduce your pain and keep your eye free of drainage. Symptoms usually last 5 to 7 days, but some cases can last for up to 3 weeks.

Dry Eye Syndrome is a more chronic condition in which you don’t have enough tears to lubricate and nourish your eyes.  A lack of sufficient or quality tears in the eyes can be problematic since tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye, as well as providing clear vision.

According to the American Optometric Association, some symptoms of dry eye are:

  • Gritty, irritated, scratchy or burning eyes
  • The feeling of something in the eyes
  • Excess watering
  • Blurred vision

Dry eyes can develop for a number of reasons including environment, medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disease, aging, your gender or certain medications you are taking that can reduce tear production.

In mild cases of dry eyes, symptoms can often me managed using over the counter artificial tear solutions.

In either case, if symptoms persist you should seek medical attention.  If you are experiencing prolonged symptoms and would like to make an appointment to see one of our doctors, please call the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 for an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The “Eyes” Have It! Treating Pinkeye

Closeup of chronic conjunctivitis with a red iris.

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, and Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, affects children of all ages and at any time of the year.  Symptoms include redness and swelling of the mucous membrane that line the lid and surface of the eye and discharge. Pinkeye can be caused by many things including, but not limited to, an infection, dry eyes from lack of tears or over exposure to wind and sun, chemicals, allergies and smoke.

Pinkeye is very common, is usually not serious, can be viral or bacterial, is highly contagious and can spread very easily. Therefore, preventing its spread is important.

There are home remedies for Pinkeye that will help reduce your pain and keep your eye free of drainage prior to seeing your doctor.

Some home remedies that have proven effective are – removing your contacts from infected eyes, applying cold or warm compresses to your eye (whichever feels best) to soothe any discomfort and reduce redness.

When treating your Pinkeye at home, remember to wipe your eye from the inside toward the outside and do not rub drainage back and forth between eyes. After wiping your eye, be sure to wash your hands to prevent pinkeye from spreading.

Symptoms usually last 5 to 7 days, but some cases can last for up to 3 weeks.

If symptoms persist and you would like to make an appointment to see one of our doctors, please call the Department of Ophthalmology at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 718-206-5900 for an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.