At some point in your life, you've likely had itchy and crusty eyes, with one or more eyes becoming red and weepy. What you experienced is called a pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis. These symptoms are caused by everything from allergies to bacterial and viral infections to getting shampoo in your eye. While there is some preliminary evidence that the pink eye can be a symptom of COVID-19, the eye condition is extremely common on its own and does not automatically indicate that you have COVID-19. Wellington Eye Care, located near Fort Collins, offers treatment and diagnosis of eye infections and can help you find a COVID testing site if necessary.
"Pink eye" gets its name from the reddish coloring that affects most people with infected or irritated eyes. It's a common name for conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is the general scientific term for any irritation or infection of the eye that results in symptoms like watering, redness, discharge, and itching. The cause of conjunctivitis is usually included in the specific name for what you have, such as "allergic conjunctivitis" for pink eye caused by allergies.
You can develop conjunctivitis for a number of reasons. Allergies can affect your eyes, as mentioned. You can also end up with bacterial conjunctivitis if you get a bacterial infection in your eyes. If you have a cold, it's possible, and this happens often, to transmit the cold virus to your eyes and develop viral conjunctivitis. Then there's irritant conjunctivitis, which occurs when your eye gets irritated by something such as shampoo, pollutants, or smoke. The symptoms of conjunctivitis can range from mild to so severe that you have an eye emergency.
Recently, researchers have explored whether or not conjunctivitis is a symptom of COVID-19. There's some evidence that it could be, but it's apparently not one of the more common symptoms. Scientists are still learning about the new virus and have found many, many different symptoms associated with it, so it isn't surprising that the pink eye would be included.
In general, the pink eye should be diagnosed and treated by an optometrist. If you're truly concerned that conjunctivitis you've developed is a symptom of COVID-19, contact an eye doctor by phone or schedule a telehealth session and discuss a course of action. Contact us at Wellington Eye Care at (970) 568-7161 if you're in the Fort Collins area.