The Truth About Pink Eye Symptoms (Conjunctivitis) and Causes

An inflammation or infection of the clear membrane conjunctiva, which borders your eyelid and covers the white portion of your eyeball, causes pink eye (conjunctivitis). The conjunctiva's tiny blood vessels become more apparent when they are irritated. Your eyes' whites seem reddish or pink because of this.

A bacterial or viral infection, an allergic reaction, or, in infants, an incompletely opened tear duct are the most frequent causes of pink eye.

Pink eye might be a pain, but it rarely impairs your eyesight. Pink eye irritation can be reduced with the use of treatments. Early detection and treatment of pink eye can assist in containing its spread because it can be contagious.

pink eye symptoms

The most typical signs of pink eye include:

  • Either one or both eyes are red.
  • One or both eyes may itch.
  • an unpleasant sensation in one or both eyes
  • A discharge in one or both eyes that crusts over at night and may make it difficult for your eye(s) to open in the morning
  • Tearing

Whenever to visit a doctor?

Eye redness can be brought on by a number of dangerous eye disorders. These diseases can result in eye pain, light sensitivity, impaired vision, and the sense that something is lodged in your eye. Seek urgent care if you develop these symptoms.

Contact lens wearers must cease wearing their lenses as soon as pink eye symptoms appear. Make an appointment with your eye doctor to ensure you don't have a more serious eye infection related to contact lens use if your symptoms don't start to improve within 12 to 24 hours.


Pink eye can be brought on by:
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Allergies
  • An eye splash from a chemical
  • An object from outside the eye
  • a clogged tear duct in infants

Conjunctivitis that is bacterial and viral

Adenovirus normally causes the majority of pink eye instances, however, other viruses, such as the coronavirus disease virus, herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus, and others, can also cause pink eye (COVID-19).

Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis can coexist with colds or other respiratory infection symptoms, like a sore throat. The use of improperly cleaned or borrowed contact lenses might result in bacterial conjunctivitis.

Both are highly contagious. Direct or indirect contact with the discharge from an infected person's eye can spread the disease. Both eyes or just one could be impacted.

An allergic eye condition

Both eyes are affected by allergic conjunctivitis, which develops in reaction to an allergen like pollen. Your body creates an antibody called immunoglobulin E in reaction to allergens (IgE). The mucous lining of your eyes and airways contains special cells called mast cells, which this antibody causes to release inflammatory compounds like histamines. Red or pink eyes are only one of the allergy signs and symptoms that can be brought on by your body's release of histamine.

If you have allergic conjunctivitis, you might also sneeze a lot and have watery nasal discharge in addition to severe eye itching, tears, and inflammation. Allergy eye drops can control the majority of allergic conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis brought on by irritability

Conjunctivitis can also be irritated by a chemical splash or a foreign item in the eye. Redness and irritation can occasionally result from flushing and washing the eye to remove the chemical or item. A day or so normally pass before signs and symptoms, which may include watery eyes and a mucous discharge, go away on their own.

You should be evaluated by your doctor or an eye expert as soon as possible if the symptoms don't go away after the initial flushing or if the chemical is a caustic one, like lye. A chemical splash in the eye might harm the eyes permanently. The presence of the foreign body in your eye, as well as a scratch on the cornea or the covering of the eyeball, could potentially be indicated by persistent symptoms (sclera).

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risk elements

Pink eye risk factors include:

  • exposure to a substance to which you're allergic (allergic conjunctivitis)
  • exposure to a conjunctivitis patient with a bacterial or viral infection
  • wearing contact lenses, especially long-lasting ones


Pink eye can induce corneal irritation that can impair vision in both children and adults. The risk of problems might be decreased by seeking immediate medical attention from your doctor if you experience eye pain, a foreign body sensation, impaired vision, or light sensitivity.


limiting the occurrence of pink eye

Maintaining proper hygiene will help you stop the spread of pink eye. For illustration:

  • Avoid putting your hands near your eyes.
  • Regularly wash your hands.
  • Use fresh towels and washcloths every day.
  • Don't exchange washcloths or towels.
  • Alter your pillowcases frequently.
  • Get rid of your eye makeup, including mascara.
  • Never exchange personal eye care or cosmetics.

Pink eye is just as contagious as the typical cold, so keep that in mind. If you can't take time off, it's okay to go back to work, school, or child care as long as you consistently practice excellent hygiene.

avoiding pink eye in infants

The eyes of newborns are prone to bacteria that are typically present in the mother's birth canal. The mother experiences no symptoms from these microorganisms. Rarely, these bacteria can cause children to develop ophthalmia neonatorum, a serious form of conjunctivitis that must be treated very away to prevent blindness. Every newborn's eyes are therefore treated with an antibiotic ointment soon after birth. The cream guards against eye infections.

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