When to See Your Doctor for Pink Eye

Like many people, you may be unaware of when to see your doctor for pink eye. When combined with a pink or red eye, a number of symptoms may indicate a more serious condition. You should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience pink eye accompanied by eye tenderness or pain, changes in vision, or a high fever.

Pink Eye: When to See Your Doctor

Pink eye is one of those conditions that, on the surface, may seem like a relatively common, nonthreatening medical issue. It is most commonly caused by conjunctivitis, which is inflammation of the thin tissue that covers the whites of the eyes and the inner eyelids. This condition often gets better on its own, or can be easily treated with medicine.
 
However, a number of other conditions can cause pink eye (see Pink Eye Causes). Some of these conditions can be potentially serious.
 

Reasons to Call Your Doctor Now

When combined with a pink or red eye, a number of symptoms may indicate a more serious condition. You should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you or your child has any of the following symptoms accompanied by a red or pink eye:
 
  • Eye tenderness or pain
  • Changes in vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty keeping the eye open
  • Recent trauma to the eye
  • Fever over 105°F (40.6°C); for children younger than 12 weeks, if the fever is greater than 100.4°F (38°C) rectally
  • A severe headache with nausea
  • If you or your child wear contacts
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • Significant swelling and redness of the eyelids or around the eyes, along with a fever.
     
You should also contact your healthcare provider if your newborn develops a pink eye.
 
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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