Pink Eye Doctors
Near Austin, TX
Pink eye is the more common name for conjunctivitis, which broadly describes a group of eye diseases that cause inflammation and irritation in the eye and give it an unsightly red or pink appearance. It can be very uncomfortable and should not be left untreated.
At Bristol Family Eyecare, our focus is on accurately diagnosing your pink eye and getting to the root cause. When we understand the source of your issue, we can treat it quickly and effectively, which will get you back to feeling normal and seeing clearly again.
What Is Pink Eye?
The insides of your eyelids, as well as the surface of your eyes, are coated with a thin membrane called the conjunctiva. Its primary job is to protect the eye from surface-level infections. “Conjunctivitis” means there’s an infection in the conjunctiva that needs to be treated. This infection often leads to a red or pink appearance, leading to the more common moniker of “pink eye.”
While sometimes an eye can become temporarily irritated or red due to allergies, dry eye, or other issues, when it comes to pink eye, there are three particularly common types. They might appear similar but have different underlying causes and as such, different treatments.
Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type of pink eye. Viruses can spread rapidly through both the air and physical contact, easily infecting the eye. Symptoms include your eyes appearing red, itchy, and inflamed, and possibly producing excessive tears. Treatment will often focus on symptom relief, as viruses typically need to run their course. If the virus strain causing your pink eye has a known treatment, such as the herpes simplex virus, you may be prescribed a specific antiviral medication.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is also very common, and similarly spreads the way a viral infection would — via the air and physical contact — or through poor contact lens wear or hygiene habits. This type of conjunctivitis appears much like the viral type but can also cause crusts or a sticky substance to develop in and around the eyes. This requires an antibiotic eye drop for treatment that pulls double duty by eliminating the bacterial infection and soothing the eyes.
Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by allergens making contact with the eye, either through the air or with physical contact such as eye-rubbing. However, it’s not contagious like the others and may be aggravated by the environment or time of year. Its symptoms are usually watery eyes, itching, and uncomfortable irritation. We usually treat this with soothing antihistamines and anti-inflammatory eye drops.
Who Pink Eye Affects
The most common pink eye patients are children, because they’re often in close contact with many other children at school or in other activities. Children regularly pass germs to one another. This is why pink eye can have its own breakouts in, for example, a particular class in an elementary school or at a small daycare facility.
Adults are still susceptible to pink eye for the same reasons as children, but in a broader variety of ways. For example, sexually transmitted diseases — notably the herpes simplex virus, chlamydia, and gonorrhea — can cause conjunctivitis if a person touches their eyes after touching infected areas or fluids.
Diagnosing Pink Eye
There are so many things that can cause pink eye, so it’s important for us to first get to learn about you and your health history. We’ll need to learn about your environment, activities, and lifestyle in order to put together a picture of how you may have contracted pink eye and how it may have spread.
We then diagnose the pink eye based on the symptoms we’re seeing in the present moment. For example, if only one eye is presently infected, it’s more likely to be viral, because it typically starts in one eye before moving to the next. This then informs the way we treat it.
Pink Eye Specialists
at Bristol Family Eyecare
Because there can be so many causes of pink eye, our eye doctors look at every case as a unique challenge to solve. They take the diagnostic skills they’ve developed over years of practice and apply it to your individual eyes in order to guide the treatment and relief you need. We take the time to get to the root of the problem and find the best way to treat your pink eye, all while being empathetic and attentive to your needs. That’s our approach to not only curing your pink eye but enriching your life through eye care!