Pink Eye

:: Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball.

Bonum / Conditions / Pink Eye

Symptoms

The most common pink eye symptoms include:

  • 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
  • Tearing
  • Redness in one or both eyes
  • Itchiness in one or both eyes
  • A gritty feeling in one or both eyes
Girl-with-pink-eye

Overview

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) 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. This is what causes 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 pink eye can be irritating, it rarely affects your vision. Treatments can help ease the discomfort of pink eye. Because pink eye can be contagious, early diagnosis and treatment can help limit its spread.

Prevention

Preventing the spread of pink eye Practice good hygiene to control the spread of pink eye. For instance:
  • Don’t touch your eyes with your hands.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Use a clean towel and washcloth daily.
  • Don’t share towels or washcloths.
  • Change your pillowcases often.
  • Throw away your eye cosmetics, such as mascara.
  • Don’t share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.

The safest way to prevent spreading pink eye is to stay home — or keep your child at home — until eye discharge has stopped. Most schools and child care facilities require that your child wait at least 24 hours after starting treatment before returning to school or child care. Check with your doctor if you have any questions about when your child can return to school or child care.

Keep in mind that pink eye is no more contagious than the common cold. It’s okay to return to work, school or child care if you’re not able to take time off — just stay consistent in practicing good hygiene.

Newborns’ eyes are susceptible to bacteria normally present in the mother’s birth canal. These bacteria cause no symptoms in the mother. In rare cases, these bacteria can cause infants to develop a serious form of conjunctivitis known as ophthalmia neonatorum, which needs treatment without delay to preserve sight. That’s why shortly after birth, an antibiotic ointment is applied to every newborn’s eyes. The ointment helps prevent eye infection.

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