Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
What is Pink Eye?
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in children and adults. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish color.What causes Pink Eye?
There are four main causes of pink eye:
How is Pink Eye treated?
- Allergens (like pet dander or dust mites)
- Irritants (like smog or swimming pool chlorine) that infect or irritate the eye and eyelid lining
Most cases of pink eye are mild and get better on their own, even without treatment. However, there are times when it is important to see a healthcare provider for specific treatment and/or close follow-up. You should see a healthcare provider if you have pink eye along with any of the following:
How Do I Stop Pink Eye from Spreading?
- Moderate to severe pain in your eye(s)
- Sensitivity to light or blurred vision
- Intense redness in the eye(s)
- A weakened immune system, for example from HIV or cancer treatment
- Symptoms that get worse or don't improve, including bacterial pink eye that does not improve after 24 hours of antibiotic use
- Pre-existing eye conditions that may put you at risk for complications or severe infection
Pink eye caused by a virus or bacteria is very contagious and spreads easily and quickly from person to person.
Pink eye that is caused by allergens or irritants is not contagious, but it is possible to develop a secondary infection caused by a virus or bacteria that is contagious.
You can reduce the risk of getting or spreading pink eye by following some simple self-care steps:
(Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/features/conjunctivitis/)
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
- Avoid sharing eye and face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses and containers, and eyeglasses.