Pink eye is a common eye infection that causes your eyes to swell, turn red, or feel itchy. Usually, pink eye can be treated at home. However, there are times when you should visit your eye doctor. This is especially true if you experience severe symptoms. Here is more information on pink eye, its causes, and how to tell if you need emergency eye care.

What Is Pink Eye?

There are a few different types of pink eye, but the most common is viral conjunctivitis, which is caused by a virus, such as the common cold virus. Other types include bacterial conjunctivitis, which is caused by bacteria; allergic conjunctivitis, which is caused by an allergic reaction to something like pollen or pet dander; and chemical conjunctivitis, which is caused by exposure to irritating chemicals.

How Do You Get Pink Eye?

A bacterial or viral infection causes pink eye, but it can also be caused by pollen, dust mites and molds, irritants such as chlorine, makeup and dust, and contact wear or contact solutions.

Bacterial and viral pink eye are both highly contagious, so if you have it, you should stay home from work or school and avoid contact with other people until it clears up. Allergic pink eye is usually not contagious. However, if you touch your eye and then touch someone else, you could spread the allergen to them.

What Are the Symptoms of Pink Eye?

The most common symptom of pink eye is conjunctival hyperemia when the blood vessels in your eye become irritated and swollen. This can cause your eye to appear red and bloodshot. You may also experience watery eyes, itchiness, and a burning sensation.

The most common symptoms of pink eye are the eye appearing pink or red, swelling, watery eyes, itching, irritation, burning, a watery or thick discharge, and crusting of eyelids or eyelashes, especially in the morning.

What Are the Available Treatments for Pink Eye?

You can usually treat pink eye at home without seeing your eye doctor. Gently wipe your eyes with a wet cloth, making sure to use a different cloth for each eye. You may also apply a cold or warm compress or artificial eye drops.

If you have pink eye, it is important to see an eye doctor so that they can help you identify the type of pink eye you have. Depending on the type of pink eye, you may need antibiotic eye drops or ointments, antiviral medication, or allergy medications or eye drops that include antihistamines.

When to See Your Eye Doctor  

If you have any symptoms of pink eye, such as redness, pain, or sensitivity to light, you should see an eye doctor. Other symptoms to look out for include blurred vision, worsening symptoms, or a weakened immune system. If you have severe symptoms of pink eye, or if your symptoms do not go away on their own, you may need to see a doctor for emergency eye care.


Seeking medical treatment for pink eye (conjunctivitis) is important to avoid any potential complications arising from the infection. While pink eye is usually a minor condition, it can sometimes lead to more serious problems if left untreated. Therefore, if you experience any symptoms of pink eye, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

At Family Medicine and Wellness, we believe that health and wellness are of utmost importance for well-being and are attained through a personalized patient-physician relationship. Led by Dr. Al-Misky, we believe in a strong, trustworthy, and confidential patient relationship committed to effective communication and shared decision-making. If you need primary medical care in Troy, Michigan, get in touch with us! Call us at (248) 759-0993 to book a schedule!