Pink Eye : Causes, Symptoms & Prevention

Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid.Children get it a lot. It can be highly contagious (it spreads rapidly in schools and day-care centers), but it’s rarely serious. It's very unlikely to damage your vision, especially if you find it and treat it quickly. When you take care to prevent its spread and do all the things your doctor recommends, pinkeye clears up with no long-term problems.


The most common causes of conjunctivitis (pink eye) are:

1. Viruses

2. Bacteria

3. Allergens

Other causes include

a) Chemicals

b) Contact lens wear

c) Foreign bodies in the eye (like a loose eyelash)

d) Indoor and outdoor air pollution caused, for example, by smoke, dust, fumes, or chemical vapors

e) Fungi

f)  Ameba and parasites

It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of conjunctivitis because some symptoms may be the same no matter the cause.


The most common pink eye symptoms include:

1. Redness in one or both eyes

2. Itchiness in one or both eyes

3. A gritty feeling in one or both eyes

4. A discharge in one or both eyes that forms a crust during the night that may prevent your eye or eyes from opening in the morning

5. Tearing



Practice good hygiene to control the spread of pink eye. For instance:

1. Don't touch your eyes with your hands.

2. Wash your hands often.

3. Use a clean towel and washcloth daily.

4. Don't share towels or wash cloths.

5. Change your pillowcases often.

6. Throw away your eye cosmetics, such as mascara.

7. Don't share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.


When should I call my healthcare provider?

If the redness does not improve, or if symptoms get worse or new symptoms arise, see an ophthalmologist or visit your nearest urgent care center.

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