There are about 3 million cases of pinkeye reported in the United States each year.

Pink eye can result from a virus, bacteria, irritants or contaminants. Although most cases are mild, bacterial conjunctivitis is easily spread.

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in children and adults— and it can also be highly contagious.

Pink eye is not only uncomfortable but also sometimes contagious. Bacterial and viral pinkeye is most common in children because they are in close contact with other people for an extended period of time— and because they lack good hygiene habits. According to the American Journal of Infection Control, almost 3 million school absences are attributed to conjunctivitis, or pink eye.


Our emergency rooms in Tyler, Longview, and Galveston are open 24 hours a day.

Minor Emergencies Matter at Hospitality Health ER.

You wouldn’t think that pink eye would call for an emergency room visit, but when it comes to the possibility of spreading it to your kids or others, early treatment may prevent a house-full or school-full of pink-eyed patients. Symptoms of pink eye will typically resolve on their own without prescription treatment—but without treatment, it can easily spread.

So, if you or your child has bacterial conjunctivitis and you’re seeking urgent care in Tyler or Longview, Hospitality Health ER can provide antibiotic eye drops to get rid of the infection more quickly. With treatment, you can likely return to school or work after 24 hours when the eye drops or ointment start working and the infected person is no longer contagious. Without antibiotic treatment, it can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days for the infection to completely clear.

If you are unsure what type of pink eye you or your child has, our doctors will determine what type of pinkeye you have and prescribe appropriate medications or treatments to get you feeling better and back to normal.

For more severe cases of pinkeye caused by the varicella-zoster virus or rubella or rubeola (measles), we can perform testing on site and provide treatment for any other symptoms you may be experiencing.

At Hospitality Health ER, rest assured that we will treat your medical situation, whether minor or traumatic, with the utmost attention and urgency.

The infection may be painful, itchy or feel like it’s burning. Your eye(s) might tear or produce a discharge that crusts over during sleep. Sometimes, you may not be able to open your eye in the morning. Other signs or symptoms that may accompany pink eye include:

  • Swelling of the conjunctiva
  • Feeling like a foreign body is in the eye(s)
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes in front of the ear. This enlargement may feel like a small lump when touched.

The formal medical term for pink eye is conjunctivitis, because it involves inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. It’s called pink eye for one obvious reason: the inflammation makes blood vessels more visible, giving the eye a pink or reddish appearance.

  • Moderate to severe pain in your eye(s)
  • Sensitivity to light or blurred vision
  • Intense redness in the eye(s)
  • Symptoms that get worse or don’t improve, including bacterial pinkeye that does not improve after 24 hours of antibiotic use
  • Pre-existing eye conditions that may put you at risk for complications or severe infection
  • If you have a weakened immune system from cancer, HIV, or age.

If your eye infection won’t go away, it may not be viral or bacterial. You might have allergic conjunctivitis. Pink eye from allergens like molds, dust and animal dander can last a long time, especially during certain times of the year. If you are constantly exposed to these allergens, your conjunctiva will continue to be irritated or infected as a result. When this happens, talk to a doctor about medications for this type of pink eye. You may get prescribed eye drops that contain antihistamines to treat the symptoms.

Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis is spread when a person touches his or her own eye and then touches the eye of another person. It also can spread to other persons by touching the infection in one’s own nose or sinus and then touching the eye of another person. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, some of the bacteria and viruses that cause pink eye can live on surfaces for two days or more. Most bacteria survive anywhere from 2 to 8 hours while some viruses can survive up to 8 weeks on surfaces.

  • You and anyone you’re in close contact with should wash hands often.
  • Avoid touching your eyes.
  • Avoid reusing towels, washcloths, handkerchiefs and tissues to wipe your face and eyes.
  • Change your pillowcase frequently.
  • Clean your home thoroughly with bleach or other antimicrobial cleaners to immediately destroy bacteria and viruses.
  • Get antibiotic treatment if you have bacterial conjunctivitis.