Pink Eye In The Elderly: Symptoms And Treatments

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, can affect babies to senior citizens. However, it is more prevalent in children and the elderly. This is most likely due to their weak immune systems. The eye becomes red or pink, swollen, and irritated, and there may be mucus.  Pink eye is highly contagious.

Senior citizens may get pink eye through various ways. For example, they may have touch surfaces infected with bacteria. Droplets from the person sneezing next to you may also cause pink eye.


pink eye



Pink Eye: Causes

Viral: The most common cause of pink eye is a virus, such as the common cold and the flu. In most cases there is no medical cure for the infection.

It takes about 7-10 days for the redness and itching to disappear.

Bacterial  produces similar symptoms to viral , except there is a thick, yellow, and sticky discharge released from the eyes instead of the watery discharge present in the viral. The bacteria may come from the person’s own skin or respiratory tract or they may be transferred from another contagious person. It’s possible to have both viral and bacterial at the same time. The bacterial form can be treated with antibiotic eye drops.

Allergic: Allergic reactions to materials such as pollen grains, dust mites, and pet dander can trigger this condition.

Irritant: Examples of triggering  substances include cigarette smoke, pollutants, chlorine in swimming pools, fragrances, soap, hairspray, cleaning liquids, and diesel exhaust.


Pink Eye: Symptoms

  • itchy or painful eyes
  • a red and bloodshot sclera (the “white” of the eye) and red inner eyelids
  • increased tear production
  • an eye discharge
  • blurred vision
  • swollen eyelids
  • sensitivity to light
  • a gritty sensation in the eyes
  • the formation of a crust on the inside of the eyelid while the person sleeps
  • sticky eyelids
  • difficulty in opening the eyes


Pink Eye: Treatments For The Elderly

  • Artificial tear solutions may help to relieve the discomfort of viral conjunctivitis. Buy the preservative-free solutions, as  these are non-irritating for seniors.
  • Antibiotic eye drops, and ointments.
  • Antihistamine eye drops may help.
  • In severe cases a doctor may prescribe corticosteroid eye drops. Make sure this does not clash with any other medications the senior may be taking.
  • Cool compresses applied several times a day may soothe the eyes and reduce redness and swelling.

Decongestant eye drops, also known as whitening eye drops, are available.. These drops reduce the bloodshot appearance of eyes by shrinking the blood vessels in the cornea. Do not use them too often as they may actually increase the redness.

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