Conjunctivitis

Image of a girl with pink eye.

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common eye problem that can afflict children and adults alike. It is highly contagious and spreads quickly in environments like classrooms or offices filled with multiple people in close proximity to one another. The good news is that conjunctivitis is easily treated and can be prevented.

Conjunctivitis Symptoms

Conjunctivitis gets the nickname pink eye because it gives the affected eye a shade of pink. Symptoms of pink eye vary depending on which of three types of pink eye you have contracted. One or both eyes can be affected by these symptoms.

Viral conjunctivitis produces watery and itchy eyes and causes sensitivity to light. It can be spread through coughing and sneezing.

Bacterial conjunctivitis creates a yellow-green discharge in the corner of the eye. It can cause your eyelids to stick together while you are sleeping. This type of pink eye is spread through direct contact with infected hands or objects.

Allergic conjunctivitis leads to watery, burning and itchy eyes. Other associated symptoms include a runny nose, stuffiness, and light sensitivity. Both eyes are affected by it, but this form of pink eye is not contagious.

Conjunctivitis Causes

Causes behind a case of conjunctivitis vary based on which type you have contracted. Some types of conjunctivitis are more dangerous to the long-term health of your eyes than others.

Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus. It is a contagious form of pink eye, but typically clears up on its own within a few days. Allergic conjunctivitis is usually connected with allergies, so it typically flares up when exposed to seasonal irritants like pollen or everyday irritants like dust or pet dander.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most dangerous type of pink eye. It results from a bacterial infection. If left untreated by an eye care professional, the bacteria can cause serious damage to the affected eye.

Conjunctivitis Treatments

Treatments for conjunctivitis vary based on the type afflicting your eyes. Viral conjunctivitis does not usually require medical treatment. A cold wet washcloth is often enough to relieve symptoms. Allergy medications can be effective in reducing or preventing bouts of allergic conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis can only be treated through applying antibiotic eye drops or ointments prescribed by your eye care professional.

If you wear contact lenses, switch to eyeglasses until your eye care provider has performed an eye exam to determine which type of conjunctivitis is affecting your eyes.

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  • "Before our daughter began vision therapy she was struggling with reading and sports. We thought she was just clumsy (walking into walls and falling a lot). My wife and I know something was't quite right; so we had our daughter tested for Central Auditory Processing Disorder, took her to an optometrist and to an eye specialist at a hospital. My wife's mother urged us to see Dr. Gordon. A significant visual tracking problem was found.
    After vision therapy our daughter went from needing extra help with reading to reading above grade level. She is now excelling in softball and has been named to the All-Star Team this year. She has become more confident and willing to try new things."
    "We can't thank Dr. Gordon's office enough for our daughter's success."
    Drew D.
  • "Before vision therapy reading was terrible. Nothing made sense on the paper. Vision therapy helped me with spelling and reading. I'm not skipping lines when reading and I love how I was taught to spell. I bring home 100's in spelling and reading is coming along too!
    I'm also on the Honor Roll at school too!"
    Elizabeth S.
  • "Our son was in 2nd grade when we found out that he had vision problems. He was referred to the occupational therapist in school for his handwriting. After her testing she called to tell us that all of signs were related to vision problems. Our son complained of headaches, motion sickness and very bad handwriting.
    Most of his teachers were telling us they thought he had ADD or ADHD.
    His attention span in school was short and he rushed through his work. He absolutely hated anything that had to do with writing.
    After starting vision therapy we saw improvements very quickly; as well as his teachers. His handwriting has improved tremendously and his posture is much better.
    We are so thankful for the occupational therapist discovering his vision challenge. We drove an hour and a half each way to Dr. Gordon's office for our weekly vision therapy sessions.
    The success of our son was well worth the drive."
    Amber W.
  • "What a difference! It has been an emotional roller coaster dealing with certain aspects of our son's left. But it was refreshing to know that we could count on the staff administering vision therapy to have his best interest in mind. To watch our son overcome the obstacles he had prior to vision therapy is worth everything. We absolutely recommend vision therapy because we have seen what it can do for our child. We are grateful for vision therapy and couldn't imagine his life without it!"
    Jerome K.
  • "I saw words differently and struggled throughout my childhood with my sight. After years of testing and appointments I found Dr. Gordon who diagnosed a Convergence Insufficiency. After a few months of vision therapy I was amazed at the my improvement.
    My life is truly changed!"
    Ella S.
  • "My son has always struggled in school. As an educator I looked for answers based on what I knew; learning disabilities, ADHD, etc. By the time he was in 4th grade I had to find some way to help my son. I realized that many of his symptoms were similar to many of my students who had Central Auditory Processing difficulties. Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center confirmed the diagnosis and recommended a visual processing evaluation. No one ever considered his reading challenges to be related to a visual processing problem. Since starting vision therapy his struggles in school have decreased, his math grades have improved as well as his reading; and he is more confident in his ability to succeed."
    Joanne L.
  • "Dr. Gordon is a developmental optometrist, which means...he is trained to deal with eye dysfunctions beyond simple near-sightedness/far-sightedness and...he can help improve vision through behavior programs. Dr. Gordon patiently worked with me to get the best possible prescription...He's a compassionate and very competent eyecare professional, and I strongly recommend him."
    Michael L.