Pink Eye: What You Need to Know About This Common Eye Infection

Pink Eye: A Common Eye Infection


Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a common eye infection that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of your eyelid and covers the white part of your eye. Pink eye can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or allergies.

Symptoms of pink eye

The most common symptoms of pink eye include:

  • Redness in the eye(s)
  • Swelling in the eyelid(s)
  • Discharge from the eye(s)
  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Blurred vision

Causes of pink eye

Pink eye can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Bacterial infection: This is the most common type of pink eye. It can be caused by bacteria that normally live in the eyes, nose, or throat. Bacterial pink eye can be spread through contact with contaminated hands, objects, or eye drops.
  • Viral infection: Viral pink eye is often caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold. Viral pink eye is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with respiratory droplets from an infected person.
  • Allergies: Allergic pink eye is caused by an allergic reaction to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, or animal dander.

Treatment for pink eye

Most cases of pink eye go away on their own within a week or two. However, if you have pink eye that is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment. If you have pink eye that is caused by a viral infection, there is no specific treatment available. However, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve your symptoms.

Preventing pink eye

There are a number of things you can do to prevent pink eye, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes.
  • Avoid contact with people who have pink eye.
  • Clean and disinfect contact lenses properly.
  • Avoid sharing eye makeup or other personal items.

If you think you may have pink eye, see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent complications and speed up your recovery.

Additional tips for managing pink eye

  • Apply a cold compress to your eyes several times a day to reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Use artificial tears to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses until your pink eye is gone.
  • If you have allergies, try to avoid your triggers.

With proper care, most people with pink eye make a full recovery.

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