Flu Season and your Eyes

“Pink eye” or conjunctivitis is a general term that refers to inflammation in the front of the eye, making the white of our eyes adopt a red or pinkish appearance. With cold and flu season here in full-swing, it’s worth mentioning the symptoms of conjunctivitis.

Viral conjunctivitis is the most commonly variety of “pink eye.” Often, patients have an upper respiratory infection causing frequent coughing. It just takes one touch to the eye or face to spread the virus to our eyes. Usually patients have increased tearing and may or may not wake-up with matted lashes. Redness and grittiness are usually present as well.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is less common than viral conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis is more common in younger children, the elderly, and patients with compromised immune systems. Contact lens abuse (think sleeping in lenses) is a common cause for the general public who acquire bacterial conjunctivitis. Typically the eye has pus-like yellow or white discharge. Lashes are usually matted shut when patients wake-up. Redness is expected and grittiness may be present as well.

Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis have similar symptoms and are best evaluated by eye care professionals, like Dr. Ballitch and Dr. Finn here at Advanced Eye Care Center. If you suspect you or a family member has conjunctivitis, please make an appointment for evaluation.

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