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Pink Eye

WellNow is here to help reduce redness and swelling from Pink Eye infections. 
At WellNow Urgent Care we can get you feeling better faster.

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Understanding Pink Eye: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a common and highly contagious illness. The characteristic sign of pink eye is a pink or reddish color on the whites of the eyes. While pink eye can usually be treated at home, medical help is often necessary.


Rapid intervention helps alleviate uncomfortable symptoms like the itching and irritation commonly associated with pink eye. Additionally, early treatment helps prevent the spread of contagious forms of pink eye.

“Pink eye often resolves on its own,” says Dr. Robert Biernbaum, “but it’s a good idea to get treatment early. By getting professional medical help at WellNow Urgent Care, you can rule out other illnesses and prevent complications. Our goal is always to give you the best possible recovery.”

What Causes Pink Eye?

Pink eye can result from various irritants entering one or both eyes. This can include viruses, bacteria, allergens, chemical substances, or foreign objects. These irritants can cause inflammation of the conjunctiva—the thin, transparent membrane lining the eyeballs and eyelids.


In newborns, pink eye can happen as the result of a partially unopened or blocked tear duct.


Symptoms of Pink Eye

How do you know if you have pink eye?

Look for key pink eye symptoms in one or both eyes:


  • Redness in the whites of the eye(s)

  • Itchiness, irritation, or a gritty feeling in the eye(s)

  • Excessive tearing

  • Light sensitivity

  • Discharge that forms a crust while sleeping


How do you know if your pink eye is viral or bacterial?

Conditions like uveitis, dry eye syndrome, and corneal abrasions present symptoms similar to pink eye. Professional medical advice can help prevent eye conditions from getting worse.

What other ailments can be mistaken with pink eye?

Distinguishing between viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can be challenging. In viral pink eye, watery discharge is common. Bacterial pink eye can cause a thicker discharge, along with swelling and pain. Your healthcare provider can help determine what’s causing your pink eye.

WellNow’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Biernbaum, advises, “Some serious conditions can look like pink eye. We don’t want those conditions progressing and causing complications like vision changes. If your symptoms are bothersome and are not going away, it’s best to get it checked out by a medical provider.”

Treatment for Pink Eye

How long is pink eye contagious for?

Viral pink eye is contagious for as long as your symptoms are present. If your pink eye is bacterial, your contagious period will end about 24 hours after you start taking antibiotics.


Pink eye is not contagious when it is caused by other irritants, like allergies or foreign bodies.

Can you treat pink eye on your own?

Pink eye often resolves in 2-3 weeks with rest and at-home care. If you have pink eye, stop wearing contact lenses immediately until your symptoms have resolved. To relieve your symptoms, you can try artificial tears, cold or warm compresses, and cleaning your eyelids with a wet cloth. However, if your symptoms don’t seem to be getting better, it’s best to consult a doctor.

What gets rid of pink eye quickly?

If home remedies aren’t helping your pink eye, a medical provider may be able to prescribe helpful medications. For bacterial pink eye, swift relief can come with antibiotic treatment as directed by a healthcare professional. For pink eye caused by the herpes simplex virus, antiviral medication can help. Finally, allergy medications can help clear up pink eye cases caused by allergies.

What happens if you don't treat pink eye?

Most pink eye cases heal without medical intervention. However, pink eye and similar conditions can lead to severe eye infections or other complications. If your symptoms are concerning or getting worse, please see a medical provider.

Where can I learn more about pink eye?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has up-to-date information about a wide range of illnesses affecting the U.S. population. See their information on conjunctivitis (pink eye) to learn more.

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When should you visit us for treatment for pink eye?

When it comes to your eyes, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. While pink eye complications are uncommon, vision damage can occur. It’s particularly important to visit your doctor or WellNow Urgent Care for the following symptoms:


  • Eye pain

  • Changes in your vision

  • Light sensitivity

  • Intense eye redness

  • Symptoms that are getting worse or aren’t improving


Additionally, newborns and people with weakened immune systems should get medical care at the first sign of pink eye.


For pink eye and other medical conditions, the best results come with a professional diagnosis and tailored treatment plan. Find a WellNow Urgent Care Center or talk to a medical provider online today.


This medical information has been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Robert Birenbaum, Chief Medical Officer for WellNow Urgent Care.


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