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What Causes Pink Eye?

Tis the season for Pink Eye. Winter is one of the times of the year that we often see a surge in cases of Pink Eye. So what is Pink Eye and what causes it?

Pink eye is the common name of Conjunctivitis and is a condition in which the eyes become pink, or red in colour. You might find that you also experience light sensitivity, itchiness, discharge, wateriness or pain. There are many causes of pink eye, in this blog post we are going to talk about the most common ones we see in the winter time: Viral Conjunctivitis and Dry Eyes.

Viral Conjunctivitis

How often do you get the flu during the winter months? Viral conjunctivitis, like the flu, is a viral infection of the eye. Often patients complain of very watery eyes that are a pinkish colour as opposed to very red. We look for bumps on the inside of the eyelids and overall general flu like symptoms. This type of viral pink eye does not always occur at the same time as the flu, we find that it sometimes comes afterwards. It is important to visit your optometrist as this form of pink eye can sometimes cause scarring of the cornea, the front surface of the eye. Your optometrist can give you drops to relieve some of the symptoms of pink eye, but most of the time it will resolve on it's own in about 2-3 weeks. Remember viral pink eye is highly contagious, so be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to avoid passing it on to other family members.

Dry Eyes

Dryness can occur all year around, but it is more commonly associated with the winter when the weather is dry and our heating units dry the air inside of our houses. Patients with dryness will usually complain of irritation, excessive wateriness, and blurry vision. Dryness can be environmental, caused by medications, caused by hormone changes, and even caused by medical conditions such as arthritis. It is really important to mention any dryness to your optometrist, we can recommend drops to avoid blurry vision, relieve your symptoms, and avoid any scarring. Dryness can cause contact lens intolarance, poor quality of vision and scarring if it becomes severe.

Visit your local optometrist today if you are experiencing red eyes. We look forward to seeing you and your family at your next eye exam.


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