Don't blink away the warning signs of pink eye

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Back from Spring Break means back to germy classrooms and the spread of one highly contagious infection.

Nurses from a number of our local CareSpots all agreed that the one thing they all had in common this week was more patients with pink eye. Kids with red, swollen eyes have been using antibiotic eye drops to kick the infection. It usually takes a few days.

Those irritated, itchy and watery eyes are not uncommon around this time. Doctors say people often blame it on the pollen and don't get treated. But don't blink away the warning signs.

Pink eye is also known as conjunctivitis and is an inflammation of the membrane layer that's on the front of the eye, according to Dr. Clara Belenky.

The 4 Main Causes of Pink Eye

The Center for Disease Control and prevention reports the infection is caused by 

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Allergens like pet pander or dust mites
  • Irritants like smog or swimming pool chlorine

Preventing Pink Eye

Anyone with kids knows the condition is highly contagious. To prevent spreading the infection, 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • Never share makeup, contact lenses or eyeglasses

When to See a Doctor

Most cases of pink eye get better on their own. If you have moderate to severe pain in your eye, intense redness, or have a weakened immune system, see a doctor. Infants or newborns with symptoms should see a doctor immediately.