What's Going Around: pink eye

What's Going Around: pink eye

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If your eyes are feeling itchy, burning, irritated or looking red, there is a good chance you have what's going around this week.  

Highly contagious pink eye is making the rounds in childcare and school settings again - and some adults are also catching the infection.

"We see a lot of children, especially at the beginning of the school year and then again after Christmas break we will have another influx of kids once they go back to school," said optometrist Rebecca Kindler with The Eye Clinic.

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is most common in children, but Dr. Kindler is also treating adults who are presenting with the same symptoms.

"Just a red or pink eye," says Dr. Kindler, "Sometimes you'll have a really swollen appearing eye or the eyelids may even appear swollen.  You can also have discharge or patients will say their kids are kind of matted or crusted together in the morning."

Those are the tell-tale signs of a viral or bacterial infection.  Dr. Kindler says both spread by contact with eye secretions from someone who is infected.

"Bacterial and viral pink eyes, or conjunctivitis, are definitely contagious," she said.  "A pink eye of more of an allergic variety is typically not contagious."

Dr. Kindler says allergic pink eye involves more itchy, weepy, watery eyes.

The treatment for viral pink eye is just supportive care.

Bacterial can be nixed with antibiotic eye drops that should show improvements after one day.

"As long as the eye is improving and they aren't having a lot of discharge is the big thing, since that's what's contagious, especially with the younger children," said Dr. Kindler.

If the eye is not improving, you need to see your doctor for more directed care.  Contact lens wearers need to switch to glasses while affected by pink eye.

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