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Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva – the thin, clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. It causes redness, itching, pain, burning, discharge, and swelling in and around the eyes.

Rate of Pink Eye

Seasonal allergies cause allergic conjunctivitis in 15% to 40% of individuals. There are conjunctivitis types that are more common in certain age groups and/or during specific seasons of the year. It’s comparable to how the flu and the common cold are more prevalent in the winter.

Types of Pink Eye

There are several types of pink eye:

  • Viral conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is the most common and contagious form, usually caused by the same virus that causes the common cold. It starts in one eye and affects the other within 24-48 hours.

  • Bacterial pink eye

Bacterial pink eye is also very contagious and can be caused by various bacteria like Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. It usually infects one eye and releases a lot of yellow, white, or green pus and mucus.

  • Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when allergens like dust mites, pollen, or pet dander enter the eye. It often affects people with allergic conditions and doesn’t spread from person to person.

Signs and symptoms of Pink Eye

Among the most typical signs of conjunctivitis are:

  • Either one or both eyes are red.
  • One or both eyes may itch.
  • A dry, scratchy sensation in one or both eyes.
  • a discharge in one or both eyes that solidifies into a crust at night and might make it
  • Difficult for the affected eye or eyes to open in the morning.
  • Light sensitivity, sometimes known as photophobia.

Who is at risk for Pink Eye?

Among the risk factors for pink eye are:

  • Exposure to a person with conjunctivitis caused by bacteria or viruses
  • Exposure to an allergen, in the case of allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Wearing contact lenses—especially long-wearing ones.

Pink Eye complications

The majority of cases of conjunctivitis, especially the less severe ones, resolve on their own as your immune system fights the infection, making it not a dangerous condition. But some forms of pink eye require medical attention and won’t go away.
Although uncommon, complications from conjunctivitis can occasionally result in irreversible eye damage or even blindness if they are left untreated for an extended period of time. Such complications consist of:

  • Ocular irritation.
  • Inflammation of the cornea (keratitis) and the corneal conjunctiva (keratoconjunctivitis).
  • More serious conditions affecting the cornea, particularly recurring corneal erosions and ulcers.

If pink eye symptoms worsen after more than a few days, you should not ignore them due to the possibility of irreversible damage.

Preventions for Pink Eye

Maintain proper hygiene to stop conjunctivitis from spreading. For example:

  • Avoid putting your hands in your eyes.
  • Hands-wash frequently.
  • Every day, use a fresh washcloth and towel.
  • Never share washcloths or towels.
  • Replace your pillowcases frequently.
  • Get rid of outdated eye makeup, like mascara.
  • Never share personal eye care products or cosmetics.

Remember that conjunctivitis is just as contagious as the average cold. Returning to work, school, or child care is acceptable as long as you can maintain proper hygiene and stay away from close contact. Nonetheless, it might be preferable to remain at home until your symptoms go away if your job, school, or child care require you to interact with people closely.

Preventing Pink Eye in Newborn

Bacteria from the mother’s birth canal can affect a newborn’s eyes. Mothers are often asymptomatic when these bacteria are present. These bacteria may occasionally cause ophthalmia neonatorum, a serious form of conjunctivitis in infants that requires prompt medical attention to prevent blindness. For this reason, every newborn has an antibiotic ointment applied to their eyes shortly after birth. The ointment guards against infections in the eyes.

Diagnosis of Pink Eye

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is usually diagnosed by a health care provider examining the eyes and asking about symptoms and recent health history. In most cases, antibiotic eye drops or ointments are not needed, as pink eye is often caused by a virus and will resolve on its own within 1-2 weeks.

Treatment for Pink Eye

Treatment focuses on symptom relief:

  • Using artificial tears or cold/warm compresses on the eyes
  • Stopping contact lens wear until treatment is complete
  • Discarding any soft contact lenses worn during the illness
  • Replacing contact lens accessories like the case
  • Replacing any eye makeup used before the illness
  • Antibiotics are only needed for bacterial conjunctivitis, which is treated with antibiotic eye drops, ointments or pills for 5-7 days.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis is managed with allergy eye drops.
  • Serious symptoms like eye pain, feeling something is stuck in the eye, blurred vision or light sensitivity require urgent care, as they may indicate a more serious condition.
  • Contact lens wearers should stop wearing lenses and see a provider if symptoms don’t improve within 12-24 hours.


Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the outer layer of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. It can cause symptoms like swelling, itching, burning, discharge, and redness. conjunctivitis can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, allergies, irritants, or contact lens products. While pink eye typically does not affect vision, infectious cases can easily spread from person to person. In most instances, the infection clears up without medical intervention, but bacterial conjunctivitis may require treatment with antibiotic eye drops or ointment.

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