So how do we treat pink eye? Well, it really depends on the cause.
If it's viral, it's self-limiting. It's going to go away on its own.
If it's bacterial, remember it's usually self-limiting,
but antibiotics can shorten the course and allow release back into the community.
And this is really important. So, we tell patients they need to use their eye drops.
And once they've used them for 24 hours, they're released back to school
and back to work even though they need to complete the antibiotic course.
Allergic pink eye is treated with eye flushing, getting rid of the trigger,
limiting exposure and needs antihistamine eye drops.
And irritant pink eye is fixed by flushing the eyes and limiting exposure.
So, we always educate patients that we think your pink eye is viral or we think your pink eye is bacterial.
This is how it should improve.
But I always tell patients, if you're not getting better as expected,
we need to see you back because some conditions can cause very serious complications.
So, we also wanna tell patients, never to share personal items and this includes makeup.
Cover your cough or sneeze to prevent the spread of viral pink eye.
Wash your hands frequently, and it's a very good education point.
Tell your patients, hand sanitizer does not kill the pathogens that caused pinkeye.
So they really truly need to wash their hands.
They want to frequently clean fomites and this includes items in their house like doorknobs, countertops.
A lot of these pathogens can live for quite a while.
They wanna have good contact lens care.
And when they swim, they'll wanna wear goggles.
Complications of conjunctivitis are rare.
But you need to consider that something more serious maybe going on
and refer the patient immediately to an ophthalmologist to exclude an ocular emergency.
If your patient has severe pain -- because severe pain is not associated with pinkeye.
If your patient has eye trauma or a foreign body that you're not able to easily remove.
If your patient has vision changes, you also want to referred to ophthalmology but I -- wait.
So if a patient has a lot of purulent drainage and they're trying to blink through it
and they say they really just can't see the eye chart because of the discharge,
I have them clean their eyes and we try again.
So be sure it's a true vision change.
If the patient has a fever, this can be a sign of something more serious
and is not common with pinkeye.
If the patient has a severe headache, and this can be associated with acute glaucoma's
and other sort of scary conditions. So refer these patients immediately.
And then if your patient is worsening despite unexpected improvement,
then that is not normal and they need to see the specialist.