Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is on the rise across the Lincoln community. Here are the top five things you need to know about this common eye condition:
- Pink eye can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, and each requires a different treatment approach. The more common version, viral conjunctivitis, can last several weeks and is usually accompanied by a respiratory infection. Cool compresses or over-the-counter decongestant eye drops can be used while the infection runs its course. Usually, a trip to the doctor is not needed in this case. However, bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with a variety of antibiotic eye drops or ointments, which require a prescription.
- Allergies, such as pollen or dust mites, can cause conjunctivitis. Treatment typically involves eye drops to control itching. Allergy season has arrived on campus, so monitor those itchy eyes and make an appointment if over-the-counter solutions are not improving symptoms.
- Make an appointment with a doctor if you have moderate to severe eye pain, vision problems, intense eye redness or symptoms that get worse or persist. To make an appointment at the University Health Center, call 402.472.5000.
- Pink eye can be very contagious. Avoid sharing towels or pillowcases even if you don’t suspect you have pink eye. Wash your hands often and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
- Re-infection can occur if you don’t take proper precautions. Dispose of any contact lenses, contact lens solutions and cases you used while infected. Pitch the eye or face makeup and applicators you used while infected. Give your eyeglasses and cases a thorough cleaning before use after you’ve been infected.