TMI Tuesday: Pink Eye

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Is it pink eye?  A few things to think about before you ask for antibiotics (viral conjunctivitis is much more common than bacterial)
Again, after another week without questions I sojourn on with topics I get asked a lot. PINK EYE!

Pink eye comes in two forms — viral, and bacterial.

Pink eye doesn’t just mean your eyes are pink, and for those of us who’ve had it — there’s much much more.

Red eyes in general can be for several reasons — allergies, lack of sleep, foreign object in eye (like sand). You obviously need to treat the cause for these. Foreign objects should involve a lot of blinking, not wiping… fyi.

Pink eye has discharge involved and lots of it. The need for medication involves two things

    1. Our pedis used to say that if you wipe the discharge away, it should be back within 1/2 an hour. That means your eyes are producing a LOT of goop.  Just having goop in the morning isn’t an indicator of a need for antibiotics.


  • The goop should be green, clear discharge can be from any of the items above, or from a cold or from crying. :) Yellowish will most likely clear-up on its own, but keep an eye on it {no pun intended}


If you see both of those, call your doctor. Sometimes they don’t even need to see you, and will just call something in (although there is a lot of ear infections that come with pink eye as well, so they might want to bring you in to double check on that as well).

Pink eye is SUPER contagious! Kids and parents need to stay at home, try to keep from touching your eyes and no contacts or makeup ladies! Make sure you keep these precautions up until the discharge is gone!

Another thing that is sometimes thought to be pink eye is a sty. That’s basically just a clogged tear duct, there’s redness and pain on the eyelid (and sometimes some discharge). No need to antibiotics on this one — just take a cotton ball or a clean washcloth with some warm water, and wipe from the nose-side of your eye to the outside. Do this every hour or so throughout the day and it should clear-up in a couple of days.

If for some reason the redness starts to extend down the cheek, you will need to see a doctor. Pink eye can turn into a cellulitis and that’s much more serious, and needs to be looked at.

Until next week, keep those questions coming (or, frankly — start them coming. You know you have them).

Hilary is an RN, BSN who has worked in various medical fields for the past 12 years, however, none of the information on this blog, should be substituted for the care of a physician. The information provided on this blog is informational only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. You have instinct, use it — and use it wisely. If you have questions, please ask your doctor. If you think you have a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 911. Also, please don’t delay contacting a physician due to something you have read on here. Pulling Curls doesn’t takeresponsibility for your health. That’s your job. We’re just a nice read.

Pulling Curls blog by Hilary EricksonCheck out Hilary's Most Popular Posts ~ Learn more About Hilary

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  1. says

    Oh man, one Easter morning all THREE of my kids woke up with pink eye and ear infections. I have no idea where they picked it up ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Just what you want to do on Easter morning right?

    Good idea, good info 😀

  2. says

    Talk about TMI–I’ve had great success with using breastmilk to treat pink eye and clogged ducts.

    I know, but it works.

    And it’s free.

    (If you have access to working boobs.)


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