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Cases of pink eye on rise, local pediatrician says

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Cases of pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, are increasing throughout central Indiana, one doctor says.

Dr. Michael McKenna, a pediatrician with Ascension Medical Group in Zionsville, told News 8, “I like to tell people pink eye is basically a cold, but it’s in your eye, and you just get it from dirty hands, touching your eye, touching something else, touching somebody else’s eye.”

McKenna on Tuesday saw three patients suffering from pink eye. Cases have surged among children and young adults.

Butler student Ava Beeler caught pink eye shortly before the school year ended. The symptoms were not pleasant. “They were like burning pain, a lot of goop and gross stuff was collecting in my tear ducts and coming out of my eyes, and there would be moments where my vision would go blurry.”

Although most cases of pink eye are viral, some are caused by bacteria, such as a dirty contact lens, or a foreign object.

Pink eye will not cause blindness.

McKenna said, “We will see, especially here in Indiana, now that the white poufy things are flying through the sky, allergic conjunctivitis is very common, and then you can get things from irritants and chemicals. Those are pretty rare in kids.”

Doctors can prescribe and an antibiotic to treat pink eye, but the virus will need to run its course.

Over-the-counter eye drops will not treat it.

The best way to prevent pink eye is handwashing.

For younger children, some day care centers and summer camps will require children to stay home for at least 24 hours after first being diagnosed with pink eye so they do not spread it.