Prescription For Pink Eye? Probably Not.

Every year, loads of children contract “pink eye,” and you may think that is a horrible thing.  But the truth is, most cases of pink eye are nothing more than just that: A pink eye.  So what’s the worry?  Well, pink eye is often contagious, and as a result, caregivers think their kids need a prescription.  But here’s another truth: Most cases of pink eye do not need a prescription.

You see, pink eye has several causes: allergies, something in the eye, viruses, a blocked tear duct (in babies), or a bacteria.  Only pink eye caused by the last one, bacteria, should be treated with an antibiotic drop, and even those will often go away without one.  See the table below for more information.

The most important ways to prevent the spread are to wipe the eye clean, avoid touching the eye, sneezing or coughing into your shoulder, and washing hands with hand sanitizer or soap and water (rubbing hands together for a full 15 seconds).

The bottom line is this: Stop the spread with good hygiene and don’t focus on that prescription.  If you’re not sure, see your doctor for more guidance.

Allergic

Viral

Bacterial

One eye or two eyes

Usually both

Usually one

Usually both

Redness

A little

A little to a lot

Usually a lot

Drainage

None or clear

Usually clear

Usually thick

Itch

Almost always

Sometimes

Sometimes

Needs prescription drops

Sometimes an allergy eye drop

NEVER

Sometimes an antibiotic eye drop

Other treatments

Cool compresses

Cool or warm compresses

Cool or warm compresses

Dr. Kevin Hayes is a pediatrician with over 10 years experience who is new to ThedaCare Physicians-Darboy. He is accepting new patients. Call 920.358.1900 to make an appointment.