ODESSA, TX (KWES) - It's what doctors are seeing a lot lately, especially during the allergy season. But before you jump to conclusions on whether you have pink eye, there are different ways you can tell what kind of pink eye it is.
The sight of it can be disturbing. Pink eye can take different forms, so how do you know which one you have or if you even have one?
During the allergy season, doctors see patients with allergic pink eye. This typically happens when your eyes get an allergic reaction and can cause redness and swelling, but you'll see it in both eyes rather than just one.
Then, there's a bacterial pink eye, less contagious, caused by bacteria that can infect the eye. However, it can be treated with antibiotics to prevent it from spreading to the other.
"It's a little more goopy, your eye might be crusted shut," said Dr. Chase Jackson, Medical Center Hospital O.D. "You might have discharge that's not clear but might be green or yellow."
The most contagious form of pink eye is viral. This can spread through sneezing or touching your eye and not washing your hands. Antibiotics typically won't clear it up but it can go away on its own.
"That is real itchy and it goes in a course," said Jackson. "Seven days, one eye is red and itchy. Seven days later, the next eye will be. Then the next seven days, they'll clear up."
Probably one of the most common things doctors see every week here is pink eye caused by Demodex mites. The mites stay on your eyelash and can easily multiply. Using tea tree oil scrubs to clean the eye or proper eye hygiene can reduce them from spreading.
"Things that can contribute Demodex mite population is being in a dusty environment, cats or dogs or some people are just more prone to it," said Jackson.
If you notice you have a red or itchy eye and you're still not sure, make sure you contact your doctor. Plus the old age trick of washing your hands can help keep the pink eye away.
"Maybe that's a good message for Mother's Day," said Jackson. "Listen to your mom. Wash your hands so you don't pass this stuff along or you don't get it yourself. Mom's always telling you to wash your hands. That'll help you from getting this kind of stuff."