Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

What Is Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)?

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, they’re more visible, causing the whites of your eyes to appear reddish or pink.

Pink eye is commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection, an allergic reaction, or — in babies — an incompletely opened tear duct. Though it can be irritating, it rarely affects your vision. Treatments can help ease the discomfort of pink eye, but the condition is often contagious and spreads easily.


Symptoms of Conjunctivitis:

The primary signs and symptoms of pink eye can include:

  • Redness in one or both eyes
  • Itchiness in one or both eyes
  • A gritty feeling in one or both eyes
  • A discharge in one or both eyes that forms a crust during the night and may prevent your eyes from opening in the morning
  • Tearing

It’s important to seek medical attention if you have pink eye accompanied by pain in your eyes, light sensitivity, blurred vision, or intense redness.


Treatment for Conjunctivitis:

Treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the cause:

  • Viral Conjunctivitis: Most cases are mild and can resolve on their own without treatment. Symptomatic treatments such as artificial tears, cleaning of the eyelids with a wet cloth, and applying cold or warm compresses can be helpful.
  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments.
  • Allergic Conjunctivitis: Treatment often involves allergy medications and avoiding the allergens that trigger your symptoms.

It is crucial not to self-diagnose the type of conjunctivitis, as treatments are specific to the cause.


Prevention of Conjunctivitis:

To prevent the spread of conjunctivitis, follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
  • Avoid sharing towels, bed linens, pillows, or handkerchiefs.
  • Use clean linens, towels, and washcloths daily.
  • Do not share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.
  • Change your pillowcases often.
  • If you wear contact lenses, follow your eye care provider’s instructions for lens care and replacement.

To learn more about conjunctivitis, their causes, diagnosis, and surgical options, visit your optometrist.

Please note that this information is provided for informational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical advice. If you suspect you have any eye-related concerns, it is important to consult with an eye care professional for a proper evaluation and personalized recommendations.