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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 8345
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Is there a way to diagnose pinkeye besides just observing the

Resolved Question:

Is there a way to diagnose pinkeye besides just observing the symptoms? Somebody told me a doctor could use some sort of orange stain. Is that something which works?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

The stain just shows that your cornea is infected/dry etc.....it is not a specific test for pink eye.

Dr. Rick :

That being said, there are clinical signs, symptoms and history that helps your ophthalmologist to diagnose your problem as viral conjunctivitis/pink eye.

Customer:

Is this an accurate test for pink eye?

Dr. Rick :

No. Like I said there is no real "test" for pink eye. It is diagnosed by findings and history. Sure, I guess you could try to culture it, but by the time any culture results came in -- if anything was to grow at all -- you would be over it.

Dr. Rick :

Also, it is very, very difficult, if not impossible to culture virus'

Dr. Rick :

Pink eye is caused by a virus, not a bacteria. That is why you do not need antibiotic drops or pills since these meds only treat bacteria.

Dr. Rick :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

I was wondering. A Physician's Assistant in the ER used that to come up with a diagnosis. I have no symptoms except for a red eye. No discharge, crusting, swelling or itching. He put some drops in, then put in wht he called an orange stain, and then looked into my eye with a blue light.

Dr. Rick :

Ya....an Physicians assistant, let alone and ER physician really doesn't have the training to diagnose eye problems. I don't do heart attacks and they shouldn't do eyes lol!

Customer:

The diagnosis he wrote was "Conjunctivitis, Bacterial" Does that make any sense? He gave me

Dr. Rick :

From what you have told me I doubt it is bacterial. They just pushed the nearest eye button on the computer for your handout

Customer:

He gave me Erythomycin ointment as a treatment -

Dr. Rick :

That won't hurt anything...and if he thought it was bacteria it is a poor antibiotic choice......but let's see what we can figure out....

Dr. Rick :

Tell me a little bit about how your symptoms started, if you wear contact lenses, and if you have had a recent cold/flu/sore throat or tummy ache.

Customer:

I woke up this morning with red eyes that looked like they might be pink eye. But, as I said before, I have no other symptoms beside the red eye. I do not wear contacts. No recent illness

Dr. Rick :

both eyes at once?

Customer:

Right eye was a little darker than left, but both appeared red this morning

Dr. Rick :

Ok. Pink eye doesn't usually come on in both eyes at once all of a sudden like that. I doubt that you have pink eye and I doubt that you have bilateral bacterial conjunctivitis.

Dr. Rick :

I bet your problem is more related to a spectrum of common issues. Most commonly symptoms such as yours are caused by a combination of dryness, allergies and blepharitis.

Customer:

They are a little lighter now than they were earlier. Do you think I should use the erythmycin

Dr. Rick :

It won't hurt anything if you want to use it but I think that some simple, at home, treatments would work better. Let me tell you a little bit about this......

Customer:

What is blepharitis?

Dr. Rick :

Here is the information:

Dr. Rick :

When it comes to allergies it is almost impossible to pin down the offending agent(s) and, therefore, treatment needs to focus on controlling the symptoms. Dry eyes are very common and can be improved by a stepwise series of therapies. First, the use of natural tears 4-6+ times/day to augment your natural tear production, if this doesn’t work then you can try temporary punctal occlusion of the lower puncta, then, if needed, temporary occlusion of all 4 puncta then, if indicated, surgical ( non-reversible) closure of the puncta. The openings to your tear drainage system are called puncta and you have one opening on each lid, near your nose.


 


Blepharitis is a condition where glands in the eyelids are not functioning normally. They become plugged and instead of putting out their normal clear, oily secretions, they put out thick, toothpaste like gunk. You may not be able to see this “gunk” yourself, unless it is really bad, but it shows up clearly on slit lamp examination.


 


The best treatment for this condition is daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on your eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.


 


Baby shampoo lid scrubs will also help to wash away allergens and stimulate tear production, thereby addressing all three of your issues. Remember, this is not an instant fix. While you are waiting for the lid scrubs to have affect you can use over the counter allergy pills such as Travist, dimetapp or Zyrtec.


 


Should your symptoms get worse, your vision become significantly affected or things just not get better in 3 weeks or so you should have a complete eye examination by your local ophthalmologist to look for other, less common, causes of your symptoms.


 

Customer:

Are any of these conditions you described contagious?

Dr. Rick :

No. I do not think you are contagious.

Customer:

OK.Thanks.

Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 8345
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick
Eye Doctor
8345 Satisfied Customers
Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest