Start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner if you have any eye-related signs or symptoms that worry you. If your signs and symptoms persist or get worse, despite treatment, your doctor may refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as stop wearing contact lenses or refrain from using eyedrops.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For pink eye, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatments are available?
- How long will I be contagious after starting treatment?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Do I need to come back for a follow-up visit?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow time later to cover points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Do your symptoms affect one eye or both eyes?
- Do you use contact lenses?
- How do you clean your contact lenses?
- How often do you replace your contact lens storage case?
- Have you had close contact with anyone who has pink eye or cold or flu symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
Stop using contact lenses until you can see your doctor. Wash your hands frequently to lessen the chance of infecting other people. Don't share towels with other people for the same reason.
Jul. 25, 2012
- Preferred practice pattern: Conjunctivitis. San Francisco, Calif.: American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://one.aao.org/CE/PracticeGuidelines/PPP.aspx. Accessed June 2, 2012.
- Jacobs DS. Conjunctivitis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 28, 2012.
- Care of the patient with conjunctivitis. St. Louis, Mo.: American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/documents/CPG-11.pdf. Accessed May 28, 2012.
- Riordan-Eva P, et al., eds. Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=55781421. Accessed May 28, 2012.
- Rohren CH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 6, 2012.
- Robertson DM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 4, 2012.