My Eyes Are Pink and Swollen: What Should I Do?

My Eyes Are Pink and Swollen: What Should I Do?

Pink, swollen eyes are most often caused by an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a clear membrane that lines your inner eyelid and covers the surface of the whites of your eyes. While it’s not the only cause of redness and swelling, it’s the most common reason and is generally comparatively mild. 

Still, conjunctivitis can leave your eyes itchy or feeling dry and gritty. You might have trouble opening your eyes in the morning due to a discharge that crusts over as you sleep. It usually won’t affect your vision. 

If you’re uncertain about an eye condition though, it’s a good idea to visit the optometric team at Accent Vision Specialists in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They can rule out more serious problems and confirm conjunctivitis as well as help you with a treatment plan and home care steps to minimize your discomfort. 

Causes of pink eye

Most cases of conjunctivitis are caused by viruses or bacteria, often accompanying a respiratory infection like the common cold. You can also experience infective conjunctivitis from wearing contact lenses that aren’t cleaned adequately. The discharge from this type of pink eye is very contagious, so you can spread the condition through direct or indirect contact. 

While coronavirus infections generally have few effects on the eyes, conjunctivitis is present in about 1% to 3% of COVID-19 patients. While pink eye itself isn’t an indicator of COVID-19, take precautions if you also have cough, fever, and shortness of breath. 

Allergies are another cause of conjunctivitis, stemming from a histamine reaction to allergens. As well as sneezing and a runny nose, allergens can cause itchy eyes and, in extreme cases, conjunctivitis, although this is usually easy to treat with eye drops. 

Eye irritation due to a foreign object or contact with a chemical substance can also cause pinkness and swelling. Flushing of your eye or eyes is usually the best first response. If the substance is unknown or known to be dangerous, seeking urgent medical care is prudent. 

Home care for pink eye

Infective conjunctivitis, the most common cause of pink eye, typically lasts no more than a day or two, and often heals itself. You can usually control symptoms with over-the-counter solutions such as: 

Don’t use eye drops that prevent redness, however, since these can aggravate conjunctivitis. Other steps you can take for relief include: 

For allergic conjunctivitis, over-the-counter allergy antihistamine medications may improve pink eye, along with your other allergy symptoms. 

When your eyes become pink and swollen, contact our office to rule out serious eye conditions and for specific recommendations on caring for your eyes. You can call us directly at 505-984-8989 to book your personal consultation or for any other eye-related concern. Schedule your appointment now. 

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