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Do I Need to Visit an Urgent Care for Pink Eye?
Pink eye is a common condition affecting the eyes that may require a visit to an urgent care center. It is painful and often compounds other symptoms of allergies. It can also result from injury or irritation to the eyes, particularly by dust or chemical fumes. Dry dusty roads, fields in high summer and many working environments can expose a person’s eyes to allergens and irritants.
What is pink eye?
Pink eye is the common name for conjunctivitis. This is to say inflammation of the mucous tissues of the eye. The eyes become bloodshot and the eyelids visibly inflamed and sore. The skin below the eyes and around the nose may also become reddened. Sensitivity to light (also known as Uveitis) is notably not a symptom of pink eye. If the light itself causes the person pain, then it indicates other problems calling for a trip to urgent care.
Conjunctivitis is usually an allergic reaction. It can be either from direct irritation of the eye or as a symptom of sinus problems. Severe bouts of hay fever, for example, may also be accompanied by a flare-up of pink eye. Long exposure to dusty environments can also irritate the eyes, resulting in pink eye. While seasonal allergies generally subside, irritation caused by injury should not be ignored.
Note that the term pink eye describes the symptom, not the cause. Painful, inflamed eyes may be a temporary, easily treated condition or it may indicate more severe problems requiring urgent care. Pink eye following exposure to chemicals, in particular, should be treated urgently. People experiencing pink eye alongside allergies for the first time should also consider urgent care for advice.
Treatments for pink eye
Treating pink eye and whether it needs urgent care depends upon the cause of the condition. If it results from hay fever or a similar allergy, treating the allergy itself should reduce the pink eye as well. If it is the result of dust irritation, then bathing the eyes or using various eye drops will help alleviate the condition. In these cases, the person is likely aware of the condition and only needs urgent care in extreme instances. If the inflammation is the result of chemical exposure or another injury to the eyes, then a visit to urgent care is essential with speed.
Mild cases of pink eye can be treated by bathing the eye or using medicinal eye drops. There are also a range of alternative, nonchemical eyewashes that can help soothe mild pink eye. A medical professional at urgent care can advise on these to help speed recovery and treat future flare-ups. Allergy medications may also help alleviate pink eye, where the two conditions are related. More severe cases of pink eye will require urgent care and may take longer to treat.
Visiting urgent care for pink eye
At its worst, pink eye can be temporarily debilitating. The sufferer becomes effectively unable to see, squinting and blinking constantly. Severe cases should seek assistance to get to urgent care as soon as possible. Repeated flare-ups of pink eye may indicate other underlying health conditions, from allergies to serious eye problems.
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