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How long does pink eye last for?
Generally, Pink eye symptoms stay for few days and can stretch up to two weeks if severe. Only after the emergence of the pink eye symptoms, it becomes contagious. Which means, during the incubation period (the time when someone gets exposed to the infection and when the symptoms started showing up) of this infection people are not-contagious.
If the type of pink eye you got is caused because of the common viruses and you didn’t fall into any other complications then your eyes might get better in few days to 1-2 weeks.
The other type of pink eye is the one caused by bacteria and it can last up to a month or even longer. Properly prescribed antibiotics or eye drops can give you some relaxation, though here the person having conjunctivitis can be non-contagious, after 24 hours of medication.
What exactly pink eye is?
Pink eye, AKA Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a membrane or a thin clear tissue which covers the white part of your eyes and the membrane which covers inner part of your eyelids. The membrane reacts to the infinite range of viruses, bacteria, toxic-agents, allergy-provoking agents, diseases present suppressed in the body and also with the irritants and how long pink eye last can also depend upon these factors.
The widely known bacterial and viral type of conjunctivitis is very much common in childhood, though it can even affect the adults. Pink eye can affect the people of any age. There can be many causes behind pink eye.
Pink eye can be classified as infectious or non-infectious, where both can be highly contagious. However, this infection doesn’t cause any alterations in the vision. It is very easy to treat pink eye with the help of antibiotics. Wash off your hand every time you touch your eyes or face.
How long pink eye lasts on surface?
If someone got viral conjunctivitis then they might show some really bad symptoms at the beginning of an eye infection which can last for 3 to 5 days. Using prescribed eye drops can help you to calm swelling and irritation within 1 to 2 weeks. Once you give a start to the medicine your eye will ultimately start getting better.
If the type of pink eye you got is not because of some bacteria or virus then this allergic conjunctivitis. This can cause due to dust, animal dander and pollens and can last longer depending on the season of the year. Until you remove the cause behind the reaction, allergic conjunctivitis will never live you by its own.
Meanwhile, you can have eye drops containing antihistamines either over-the-counter or as per prescribed by your doctor, to relieve allergic symptoms.
Pink eye caused by some bacteria or virus can last for many days and several weeks making the person with conjunctivitis highly contagious. This type of pink eye can give you symptoms like itching, swelling and watery discharge.
Symptoms of Pink Eye:
Undoubtedly the most pink eye symptom is the pink appearing eye, however, other pink eye symptoms depend on the type of conjunctivitis you have.
- Watery discharge
- Itchy eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Highly contagious and can even spread through sneezing and coughing.
- Yellow or greenish sticky discharge from the corners of the infected eye.
- The discharge can be severe sometimes, making your eyelids stick together when you wake up in the morning.
- Can affect single or both the eyes.
- Contagious if comes in direct contact with infected items and hands that have touched the eyes.
- Burning sensation
- Watery discharge
- Itchy eyes
- Running nose and stuffiness
- Light sensitivity
- Infect both the eyes
When to seek medication?
Give a call to your doctor if you see any of the below symptoms and the medical specialist will tell you how to get rid of pink eye:
- If your eyes are emitting a lot of green or yellow discharge and if you feel your eyelids have got stuck in the morning when you woke up.
- If the corner of the eyes is started appearing reddish.
- When you experience some severe eye pain while trying to look at the bright lights.
- When you feel like your vision is getting affected.
- Call your doctor urgently if you see some of the pink eye symptoms in a newborn as this infection can permanently harm their eyes.
- If your symptoms are getting milder but the redness in your eyes is constant for 2 weeks then it is the time for you to consult your doctor all over again.
If you see any of the above symptoms you should call your doctor and seek medication.
With all these symptoms your eye doctor may call you to for an immediate consultation. If you are not visiting your eye doctor due to some reason you can even get in touch with your primary care doctor. However, if you see some serious symptoms like heavy green or yellow discharge, symptoms for more than 2 weeks, heavy swelling and excessive eye pain, then it is advisable to consult eye doctors only.
How to prevent pink eye:
Thinking of pink eye and bearing its painful symptoms will not fall in your lap if you take care of few preventive measures for pink eye:
- Avoid sharing personal accessories like hand towels, tissues, and washcloths.
- Avoid touching or rubbing your infectious eye.
- Don’t forget to cover your mouth and nose properly while coughing and sneezing.
- If in a public place like school, day-care or colleges, wash your hands more often.
- You can even use a sanitizer or hand disinfectant.
- Maintain cleaning of the surfaces like bathroom vanities, countertops, shared phones etc with antiseptic cleaners to avoid spreading of infection.
- One should never share the contact lenses with anyone.
- If you have seasonal allergies, you should ask your eye doctor what should be done to reduce its symptoms.
- If you wear contact lenses then handle it the way described by your doctor, use lens solutions and it will be great if you switch to daily disposable contact lenses.
- While swimming use swims goggles to protect your eyes from harmful microorganisms and bacteria present in the water that can cause pink eye.
- Don’t forget to remove your contact lenses before going under the shower or in the bathtub as it can make the bacteria stuck between your eyes and lenses.
Even after taking all these precautions it is still possible for you and your child to get conjunctivitis. If you get pink eye, take measures to restrict it from spreading.
Give an urgent call to your doctor as pink eye can be a starting symptom of some severe eye problems.
How to get rid of Pink Eye fast?
Pink eye treatment depending on the type of conjunctivitis:
Viral Conjunctivitis: doesn’t matter you go for a treatment or you don’t get one, viral conjunctivitis stays for its period of one to one and a half week and calms down eventually. How, you can go for a home remedy, where you just have to apply the cold or wet cloth to the eye, several times in a day to ease some of its symptoms. Tip: As this type of pink eye is highly contagious never share your washcloth with others.
Bacterial Conjunctivitis: if you have a pink eye due to bacterial infection then it is very much important for you to consult your doctor. He may prescribe you some ointments or eye drops to treat this type of pink eye.
Allergic Conjunctivitis: The allergy medicine can help to shorten or can even prevent the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. One should have to be a little conscious of the symptoms and start taking the medicine with the advent of an allergic season or any allergy symptoms.
Sometimes it becomes tough to tell which type of conjunctivitis a patient has, by having look at the symptoms. As some other health issues or underlying health situation can even cause the symptoms same as the normal symptoms of pink eye.
Conditions having the same symptoms as that of pink eye can be dry eyes, other eye infection or Blepharitis. On the other hand, the bacterial Conjunctivitis can even lead to some serious eye problems like a corneal ulcer that can even cause permanent loss of vision.
Because of these reasons any time you notice irritated-red eye, give an immediate call to your ophthalmologist and schedule a consultation.
If you are the one using contact lenses, stop using it and start wearing your glasses this will also ease some pain.
If you are willing to go with the sunglasses to reduce pink eye risk use the one with anti-reflective coating and high-index lenses to eliminate distracting reflections. Going with the Photochromic lens can also calm light sensitivity, a very common symptom of pink eye.