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"How can I treat an eye infection?"


I am traveling in Paris, France. I return to my home in NYC in a few days. I have developed an eye infection, with red eyes and discharge from my eyes. I would like suggestions for treatment pending my appointment.


It sounds like you may have developed conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye). This is an infection of the outer lining of your eye also known as the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a very thin clear layer of tissue that acts to protect the eye.

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When it gets infected, the blood vessels that run behind it fill with blood making your eye look very red. The usual symptoms are eye pain, itching, a dry feeling, and discharge. The most common cause of conjunctivitis is a viral infection (such as adenovirus). These types of infections are uncomfortable, but go away on their own. Bacterial infections of the conjunctiva produce a lot more discharge and have the potential to cause damage to your eye. Thus, you must get seen by a doctor soon to determine the origin of your infection. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a close look at your eye and determine whether your infection is bacterial or viral in origin. If the diagnosis is unclear (as they often are), then your doctor will likely prescribe you an antibiotic eye drop for you to take for a week or so. Over that week, your eye will get better. Good luck.

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