Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have pink eye?"
I have had a cold for about 3 days now, and today I noticed my eyes have been pink/red all day. They aren't itchy or painful. Could it be pink eye? How long does it take for the symptoms to show?
Thank you for your question regarding pink eye, which is also known as conjunctivitis. I recommend that you see your ophthalmologist. Conjunctiva is the clear outermost layer of our eyeballs that coats the eye and also the inside of the eyelids. Normally conjunctiva is clear and quiet, but can become red, angry, and inflamed in pink eye. Pink eye can be caused by a number of different conditions. Allergic conjunctivitis is due to an allergen such as pollen, or cosmetic products such as make up. Viral conjunctivitis occurs most often from the virus causing you to have a cold. You may experience watery eyes that are red and itchy. Both eyes can be affected and is a self limiting condition, meaning it will go away when your cold decides to go away. Bacterial conjunctivitis is much more serious. You may develop purulent discharge from the eye that is yellow or green, in addition to redness, swelling, and pain. Bacterial conjunctivitis will need medical attention and antibiotics. It is very possible that you are experiencing viral conjunctivitis associated with your cold. Adenovirus is a common virus causing conjunctivitis. You will not need any specific treatment but can use antihistamine or lubricating eye drops for symptomatic relief. Again, please see your ophthalmologist for any further concerns.