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Question: I have a problem with my one eye. I have had mild pain for about a week. In the last two days the pain has gotten really bad. My eye is no longer red but is very sensitive to light and has a stinging kind of pain. The thing is that I currently have no health insurance so I don't want to jump and head to the doctor. Any advice on what I should do to help the situation would be very helpful. Thank you for you time, Emily

Answer: Dear Emily,

The symptoms you mention are usually common when suffering from conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the clear membrane that covers the white area of the eye.

Bacterial conjunctivitis usually lasts about a week while viral conjunctivitis can last for 2 weeks or longer. Treatment is usually based on prescription antibiotic drops (for bacterial infections) and/or oitment for the eyes.

For viral conjunctivitis apply cold compresses three times a day for one to three weeks. Antihistamines can be taken to relieve inflammation. A pharmacist will be able to recommend over the counter antihistamines that can be helpful.

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