While usually not a serious matter, getting pink eye can be irritating and uncomfortable. Pink eye, known as conjunctivitis. It occurs when the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the eyelid and covers the white part becomes inflamed or infected. The white of the eye turns pink/red, because when small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, they’re more visible. It usually looks much worse than it is.
Allergies and irritants can also cause the eye to become red. If you or your home care assistance team notices your aging loved one has a red eye, ask him if he’s had any of the following symptoms to determine if he has pink eye.
Pink Eye Symptoms:
- Extreme itchiness in the eye that is red
- A feeling in the eye, like sand or grit in the eye
- A discharge that seems to worsen overnight. It might even form a crust on the affected eye(s). Which may seal the eye shut when your loved one tries to open his eye in the morning.
- Excessive tearing or watery eyes
A bacterial or viral infection commonly causes pink eye and can be infectious. While it might not be particularly dangerous, it is important to treat it. It’s also important to prevent it from spreading. Protect the other eye, other family members, or his home care assistance team from infection. It may come with other symptoms, like feeling something stuck in the eye, blurred vision, or light sensitivity. If that’s the case, you should plan for a doctor’s visit to examine your loved one’s affected eye.
If the eye appears infected by a bacterial infection (usually indicated by the discharge), his doctor may prescribe an antibiotic eye drop. Your loved one needs to use them as directed, for as long as they are directed, even if his eye clears up. Sometimes using eye drops can be tricky, so if needed, have someone, such as his home care assistance provider, help with applications.
Meanwhile, as your loved one waits for his conjunctivitis to clear up, he should be careful about sharing any hand towels, touching his eyes, or being in close contact with others so he doesn’t spread the infection. If he wears contacts, he should tuck those away and only wear glasses until the infection is completely gone.
If discomfort is an issue, there are several home remedies your loved one can take to help relieve the discomfort as he recovers.
- If your parent doesn’t receive prescription eyedrops, he can use over-the-counter eyedrops to help relieve the itching and irritation. Make sure he only uses the recommended amount.
- Warm and cool compresses. Warm compresses can help in the morning if he has a lot of discharge that he needs to loosen up and get rid of. Cool compresses can relieve itching and irritation. Your loved one should use a lint-free cloth and make sure no one else uses it or he doesn’t use the same cloth for both eyes.
To prevent further occurrences, make sure to wash pillowcases often and switch out towels.