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What is causing my eye irritation? Pink eye or eye allergies?


It’s that time of the year again, and your eyes are being exposed to all sorts of irritants. Whether it’s bacteria, viruses, pollen, grass, dust, pool chlorine, or sunscreen, our eyes are victims to all sorts of things. For some people, the itching, scratching, drainage and tearing can be unbearable. It is estimated that every year more than 40% of the U.S. population encounters eye problems related to inflammation of the lining in the eye, termed “conjunctivitis.” If you are one of these people, searching for the exact cause can be difficult and treatment can be expensive. Bacterial conjunctivitis or “pink eye” costs more than $377 million to treat every year. But, there are many different types of conjunctivitis, so how do you know what is going on? Below, we review the four basic causes of conjunctivitis and the common symptoms of each. At SmartDocMD we will help you determine your problem for free, click here to get started.

1. Bacterial Conjunctivitis


This is classically known as “pink eye” and should be what comes to mind when your problems start in a single eye. The tell-tale sign of a bacterial problem is drainage that is thicker, yellow, green or otherwise colored. This is known as “purulent” or “mucopurulent.” Typically, you will need an antibiotic eye drop for treatment. SmartDocMD physicians can provide this to you in less than ten minutes.

2. Viral Conjunctivitis


Viral problems in the lining of the eyes can easily be confused with bacterial issues. One way to tell the difference is the type of drainage, which in viral conjunctivitis is typically thinner and clear.  Viral conjunctivitis can lead to bacterial problems, especially if things aren’t getting better after several days.

3. Allergic Conjunctivitis


Eye problems due to allergies are very common. Itching is the most common sign which then leads to redness of the eye. This type of eye irritation may have a seasonal variation to it and often lasts for days or weeks if not treated. Clear drainage or increased tearing of the eyes can be common. Antihistamine eye drops can be of use to improve the symptoms.

4. Mechanical or Chemical Conjunctivitis


This type of eye irritation can be variable in presentation but typically comes shortly after a chemical or other irritant exposure to the eye or eyes. During the summer, chlorine can cause a good bit of eye redness, sometimes with burning or pain. Sunscreen getting in the eyes is another common offender during the warmer months. Often flushing the eye with artificial tear solutions or cold compresses around the eye can help ease the discomfort.

Still unsure?

There are many things that can cause eye problems unrelated to conjunctivitis. Things such as uveitis, blepharitis, glaucoma, subconjunctival hemorrhages and other systemic issues. At SmartDocMD we have you covered. Our free triage system uses Artificial Intelligence or “AI.” We call it SmartDocAI.  It uses up-to-date medical information to tell you what might be going on, including alerting you to more serious conditions. All you have to do is tell SmartDocAI your symptoms through a free online interview. SmartDocAI will gather your symptoms and then provide a personalized health screening specific to you and your problem. If SmartDocAI determines you might need a doctor, it will give you the option to have one of our U.S. board-certified doctors review your symptoms and provide a formal diagnosis and treatment plan, including prescriptions as needed. We offer full service treatment for conjunctivitis issues and will make sure you are getting the right care as soon as possible. Click here to get started.

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