How Allergies Can Mimic Pink Eye

Have you ever been caught between allergies and pink eye? Wondering what the clear-cut difference is while making a list of your symptoms? The Orlando ophthalmologist at Magruder Laser Vision answers many of your questions below, providing you with some insight on how to tell these tricky problems apart.

Signs of Conjunctivitis

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an infection of the conjunctiva – or covering - of the eye and inner eyelids. You may be diagnosed with one of two types of conjunctivitis, bacterial or viral.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is known for its thick, sticky discharge, especially when you first awaken. Sometimes the discharge physically glues the eyelids together until you are able to rinse your eyes with water. The discharge may appear green, grey, or yellow and can affect one or both eyes. A round of antibiotics should have you cured in no time.

Viral conjunctivitis’ discharge is clear and often resembles excess tears. Swelling and tenderness near the ears, coughing, sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose are all signs of a viral infection. Similar to the common cold, viral conjunctivitis does not require prescription medication. Bed rest and time will help clear your eyes.

Signs of allergies:

“Seasonal” allergies, or allergic rhinitis, may appear at any time of year, with the most common reactions due to dust mites, pet dander, mold, and certain types of tree and plant pollen.

Other symptoms include a runny nose, congestion, dry or irritated throat, sneezing upon waking, inability to hear normally, and drainage from your nose and throat. You may also experience headaches, wheezing, cough, and difficulty breathing in more extreme cases of allergic rhinitis.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, some unfortunate patients suffer from allergic conjunctivitis, which is pink eye caused by allergens. These symptoms include sneezing, itchy nose and throat, congestion, and photophobia (light sensitivity). Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.

Know the difference and know when it’s time to contact your Orlando ophthalmologist at Magruder Laser Vision at 407-843-5665. Our team can diagnose your ailment and prescribe an over-the-counter or prescription remedy. Read our blog to learn how to maintain eye health.