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Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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How do I know if I have pinkeye or just allergies

Resolved Question:

How do I know if I have pinkeye or just allergies?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.

What are your current symptoms?

Dr Abby
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

My right eye is red (has been since Thursday) and it's watery. On Thursday, also had some pain and very sensitive to light. Today, redness and watery still. A little itchy too. Left eye is ok.

Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for clarifying,

Pink eye, as you may know, can be viral or bacterial.
Bacterial pink eye causes a pus like drainage (thick white, yellow or green discharge) along with redness of the white of the eye and crusting.
Viral infections of the eye also cause redness along with a watery or mucousy discharge. The eye may feel gritty or uncomfortable but not painful. Viral pink eye will resolve on its own over a time period of one to two weeks (after a typical worsening over two to three days.) Generally it will involve both eyes, but does not have to. A cold is usually present as well.

Allergies will cause itching and a clear discharge from the eyes along with the redness.
The eye drops you are using should provide a bit of relief. If you have a history of allergies/hayfever, this would increase the likelihood of an allergic cause, however allergic conjunctivitis does NOT cause pain or light sensitivity.

If you are still having light sensitivity and pain in the eye, this can signify an infection of the eye called iritis or keratitis. This needs to be examined by an ophthamologist as soon as possible as it can be a serious bacterial infection (I recommend going to the ER). If these symptoms have resolved, I recommend follow up with your regular doctor tomorrow.

You can try using an over the counter antihistamine such as zyrtec or claritin in addition to the naphcon (if the drop is helping).

Feel free to ask any follow up questions you may have,

Dr Abby

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