Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If It's Pink Eye or Something Else

Summary of Similarities and Differences: Bacterial and Viral Pink Eye, Allergies & Scleritis

Bacterial or Viral Pink Eye
Seasonal Allergies
Scleritis
Description of condition
A common eye ailment involving redness or pinkness of the conjunctivae, the membranes that cover the whites of the eyes and inner eyelids
A common condition that occurs when the body's immune system recognizes a substance as harmful and overreacts to it. May be chronic or last a long time.
A serious eye disease involving inflammation of the whites of one's eyes. Typically associated with underlying autoimmune conditions.
Affects one or both eyes?
One or both eyes
Both eyes
One or both eyes
Common symptoms
Redness, swelling, watering, grittiness, urge to rub one's eyes, discharge (yellow, green or clear), eyelid crusting upon waking, contact lenses that are uncomfortable or won't stay in place
Redness, itching, burning, clear watery discharge
Moderate to severe pain, redness, tearing, light sensitivity, eye tenderness, decreased visual acuity. Usually no eye discharge.
Painful or merely uncomfortable?
Uncomfortable or mildly painful
Uncomfortable, not painful
Moderately to severely painful; deep, penetrating pain
Common causes
Direct contact with an infected person; touching an item that an infected person has touched then touching one's eyes; poor handwashing
Dust mites; pollen from trees, plants, grasses, and weeds; animal dander; molds; contact lenses and lens solution; and cosmetics.
Half of cases have no apparent cause. The other half are due to underlying systemic diseases such as connective tissue disorders, autoimmune diseases, or vasculitic abnormalities.
Contagious?
Can be highly contagious
Typically not
Diagnosis
Exam by opthamologist may include sampling eye discharge for testing
Your family physician or opthamologist may refer you to an allergist who will take your personal and medical history and may perform allergy testing.
Exam by ophthamologist; blood tests for possible underlying medical conditions.
Treatment
Artificial tears; antibiotic eyedrops for bacterial pinkeye or secondary infections caused by scratching; viral pink eye should simply run its course in 1-2 weeks
Allergy drops, artificial tears, and over-the-counter allergy medications,
Specific treatment for underlying autoimmune condition, anti-inflammatory eye drops; NSAIDS, steroids, or immune modulating medications.
Long-term effects
Inflammation of the cornea which can impair vision
If left untreated, severe asthma, sinus problems, headache and gastrointestinal problems may occur.
Must be diagnosed, treated, and monitored by an ophthamologist to avoid long-term vision loss. Retinal detachment and angle-closure glaucoma are possible.
Prevention
Keep windows closed; use an air purifier/dehumidifier, zippered "allergen-impermeable" covers on pillows and mattresses; wash bedding in hot water weekly.
Generally no prevention. Be aware of any underlying autoimmune conditions.
An ophthamologist can examine, diagnose and treat your eye condition. If you have pain, discomfort, changes in vision or color in the eye, consult an ophthamologist promptly.

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Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

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Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

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Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

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Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else

Red, Irritated, Itchy, Watery Eyes: How to Tell If Its Pink Eye or Something Else