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What is Viral Conjunctivitis?

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Viral conjunctivitis, also called “pink eye”, is a highly contagious eye infection that causes inflammation of the eye’s outer surface. Read on to learn more about this condition and how we can help.

You wake up one morning, look in the mirror and notice that one or both of your eyes is swollen, red, and watery. Is it serious? Will it go away on its own? Should you call your eye doctor?

All great questions — and below we’ll answer them and give you a better understanding of what viral conjunctivitis is and when to contact your eye doctor.

For any and all concerns or questions about your eye health, or to schedule your annual eye exam, Maple Grove Vision Clinic in Maple Grove is here for you.

What Is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Commonly known as “pink eye”, conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the eye’s conjunctiva, the thin membrane that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the eye’s surface. There are three types of conjunctivitis: viral, bacterial, and non-infectious.

The virus that most commonly causes conjunctivitis also causes the common cold, so coughing and sneezing can easily transfer the infection from one host to another.

What are Some Signs and Symptoms?

Someone with viral conjunctivitis may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pink or red eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Grittiness
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Burning sensation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Crusty eyelids in the morning
  • Watery eye discharge

Because viral conjunctivitis is often caused by the common cold virus, you may experience a runny nose or sore throat along with your pink eye.

When Should You Call Your Eye Doctor?

Even in mild cases of viral conjunctivitis, the infection can be highly contagious, so it is highly recommended to contact your eye doctor to discuss the best ways to manage the condition.

Severe viral conjunctivitis warrants an immediate call to your eye doctor. Promptly let us know if you experience any of the following symptoms along with your pink eye:

  • Intense eye pain
  • Inability to open the affected eye
  • Visual disturbances
  • Severe light sensitivity
  • Extreme redness

Even if you only have mild symptoms, contact your eye doctor if your condition doesn’t improve within two days. Bacterial conjunctivitis produces similar symptoms but requires antibiotic medications, which your eye doctor will prescribe. Only an eye exam can determine which type of conjunctivitis you have.

Treatment for viral conjunctivitis focuses primarily on symptom relief, and your local Maple Grove Eye Doctor will recommend the most effective treatment to help soothe your eyes and ensure the infection is controlled.

If you or a loved one has pink eye or any other eye problem, call Maple Grove Vision Clinic in Maple Grove, Minnesota to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Maple Grove eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Maple Grove Vision Clinic, your Maple Grove eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Call 763-225-1091 today, or book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • Is allergic conjunctivitis the same as “pink eye”?

    Allergic conjunctivitis is the clinical term of ocular inflammation of the lining or membrane of the eye, called the conjunctiva, caused by allergic reactions to substances. Although a patient may present with red or pink eyes from excess inflammation, the common term "pink eye"can signify a broad term of conditions and can be misleading, as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other irritating substances can cause redness resembling a "pink eye." Your eye doctor can differentiate between an allergy reaction and a true infection, which can lead to faster healing with proper treatments.

  • What gets rid of pink eye fast?

    If you’re having bacterial pink eye symptoms, the fastest way to treat them is to see your local Eye Doctor. Your doctor can prescribe antibiotic eye drops. Using antibiotic eyedrops can shorten the duration of pink eye.

  • How Long Does Pink Eye Last?

    Most of the time, pink eye clears up within a few days to two weeks.

  • How long are you contagious with pink eye?

    Pink eye is a common eye condition that causes painful, red, and itchy eyes. Bacteria, viruses, or allergies can cause pink eye. Viral and bacterial pink eye are both highly contagious. Both adults and children can get pink eye and should stay away from work, school, or daycare until their symptoms clear.