Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an irritation of the conjunctiva (the membrane that lines the inside surface of your eyelid). As small blood vessels become more irritated, they become more visible. This is why the whites of your eyes appear red or pink. Pink eye can be caused by an infection -- from a bacteria or virus -- an allergic response, or exposure to an irritant. Newborns may contract conjunctivitis from an incompletely opened tear duct. The infection may occur in one or both eyes.
Pink eye is extremely common and if caused by an infection, can spread quite easily. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are 3-6 million cases of pink eye every year. Although the infection may be irritating, it rarely causes vision problems. It is important to remember, however, that because pink eye is so contagious, it is best to receive treatment for it as soon as possible.
Pink Eye Symptoms
Pink eye can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms. These may vary in severity, depending on the infection.
Common symptoms of pink eye include:
Redness in the white of the eye
Increased tearing/ tear production
White or green discharge from the eye
Gritty feeling in one or both eyes
Crusting on one or both eyes (especially in the morning
Sensitivity to light
Pink Eye Causes
Pink eye is generally caused by an infection from a harmful pathogen. Viruses are the most common cause of pink eye. Bacterial infections and irritation caused by allergens are also prevalant causes of pink eye. STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea have also been shown to cause pink eye in both adults and newborns.
Pink Eye Risk Factors
Pink eye caused by a viral or bacterial infection is highly contagious. Coming into close contact with someone who has been infected with pink eye is the most common form of transmission. Individuals who have allergies are also at an increased risk of developing pink eye (allergic conjunctivitis).
The treatment for pink eye largely depends on the cause of the infection. The vast majority of cases of pink eye will go away with time and at-home treatment. In some cases, however, medicinal therapy may be required.
During your appointment, talk to your doctor about what treatment plan is right for you.
Most forms of pink eye are viral infections, making antibiotics unnecessary. Viral eye infections need to run their course, which usually lasts between 4-7 days. In the meantime, simple home remedies can help relieve symptoms.
If pink is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe a topical antibiotic eye drop or ointment to speed up recovery time. Antibiotic treatment should help the infection heal within a week. Continue to take any prescribed medication as instructed, even if your symptoms have gone away. If you stop taking antibiotics too soon, the bacterial infection could recur.
In most cases, medicine won’t help to treat pink eye. If the infection has been caused by a virus, the best form of treatment is time and eye care. Tips to help soothe the inflammation and discomfort caused by pink eye include:
Apply a cold compress to the area around your eyes. Soak a clean, lint-free cloth in water and wring it out before gently placing it on your closed eyes. If just one eye is affected by pink eye, avoid touching both eyes with the same cloth. This reduces the risk of pink eye spreading from one eye to the other.
Avoid wearing contact lenses. Consult your doctor about whether you should discard your disposable contacts, cleaning solution, and lens case. If your lenses aren't disposable, properly clean them before using them again.
Moisten your eyes with eye drops. Artificial tears, which are available over-the-counter, may help to alleviate discomfort. Antihistamines and other medicines are found in certain eye drops and can provide relief to patients with allergic conjunctivitis.
Good hygiene can help prevent the spread of eye infections. If you have an eye infection, these methods can also keep the condition from getting worse. These practices include:
Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water. The CDC recommends you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Do not touch or rub your eye, especially if it is infected.
Wash discharge from your eye several times a day. Use a clean, wet washcloth or cotton ball. Do not reuse cloths or cotton balls, as these may carry the virus causing the infection.
Change your pillowcases often.
Do not share eye cosmetics or eye care items such as eyeglasses.
Frequently asked questions about high blood pressure treatment on Sesame
Can pink eye be treated online?
Sesame offers convenient and affordable online doctor visits with licensed health providers across the country. If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of pink eye, book a video visit with a health care provider to discuss your condition and possible treatment options.
Online doctor visits can be conducted in the comfort and privacy of your own home. During your visit, you will be asked about your symptoms and health history.
If your doctor determines that you have pink eye, they will discuss a treatment plan with you. This may include prescription medication. If appropriate, your doctor can prescribe medication through Sesame. Depending on the medication, you can have your prescription delivered to your home or ready for same-day pickup at a pharmacy of your choice. Book a visit today to get started on treatment right away.
Can I get a prescription for pink eye medication on Sesame?
Yes! Sesame makes it easier than ever to get a new prescription or refill a prescription from the comfort of your own home! While many instances of pink eye will go away on their own, bacterial infections and pink eye caused by an STI may require prescription medication. To discuss a new online prescription or refill, book a video visit with a doctor or nurse on Sesame to discuss a new online prescription or refill. Clinicians on Sesame can prescribe drugs that help treat pink eye.
Note that providers on Sesame cannot prescribe controlled substances.
Book a video visit on Sesamecare.com based on the health care you need, and pick up a new prescription or existing prescription refill at a pharmacy of your choice. Browse services on Sesame, set up an appointment with a real doctor at your convenience, and get the care you need.
How can I get a prescription fast?
Booking an appointment with a doctor or nurse online is typically the fastest way to get a prescription! Sesame offers same-day online doctor prescription and prescription refill appointments with board-certified healthcare professionals. If deemed clinically necessary, Sesame providers can provide prescriptions and prescription refills for most non-controlled substances. They can also provide you with a doctor’s note if necessary.
Most online prescription and prescription refill appointments take around 15 minutes, and providers are able to send a prescription to a pharmacy of your choice right after your appointment.
Can I use my health insurance on Sesame?
Sesame does not accept insurance for provider appointments - however, you can pay with cash, credit, debit, or even your FSA or HSA card since visits and prescriptions on Sesame are considered health expenses.
However, Sesame clinicians can assist with insurance prior authorization specifically for patients who book a weight management service through Sesame’s online weight loss management program.