What's Going Around: pink eye - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

What's Going Around: pink eye

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is What's Going Around this week. (Source: KPLC) Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is What's Going Around this week. (Source: KPLC)

It is a sign kids are definitely back in the classroom: pink eye is What's Going Around this week.

A steady stream of patients with conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is no surprise when school is back in session, according to Dr. Andrew Davies with Davies Family Medicine in Sulphur and West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital

"Children tend to touch whatever they'd like whenever they'd like and help spread it to other people and objects," said Dr. Davies.

Conjunctivitis is inflammation or infection of the outer membrane of the eyeball and inner eyelid.  Dr. Davies says the cause can vary.

"There are two major types of conjunctivitis: infectious and non-infectious.  The infectious is divided into bacterial and viral.  Non-infectious is allergic and non-allergic," said Dr. Davies.

The most obvious symptom is red, bloodshot eyes.

"Itchy, watery eyes, lots of watery discharge, or even purulent discharge, the thick, mucousy, pus-like discharge," said Dr. Davies.

Allergic is pretty easy to pinpoint and based on a patient's exposure to allergens or allergic history.  

Infectious can be viral or bacterial.  Both spread easily.

"The infectious are very highly contagious based on contact with the person, their secretions, or really anything they touch, provided that they've touched their eyes at some point," said Dr. Davies.

Treating pink eye depends on the cause: allergic can be soothed with lubricating and antihistamine eye drops.

Viral typically clears on its own without medical treatment.    

Bacterial needs prescription eye drops or ointment and the person affected needs to know it can spread as long as symptoms are present.

The best way to prevent the spread of pink eye is through frequent handwashing and avoiding contact with the eyes.

Dr. Davies recommends you see a physician if you suspect pink eye, because if it is left untreated, complications that affect your vision could develop.
    
If you wear contacts, it is even more important to see a doctor quickly.

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