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Conjunctivitis: Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis: Pink Eye
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pink eye

Conjunctivitis, more commonly referred to as “pink eye,” is an inflammation of the outermost layer of the white of the eye. Pink eye can also affect the inner eyelid. It gets this nickname from the pink or reddish color the eye appears when it becomes inflamed. Conjunctivitis can occur in one or both eyes. It is a very common condition, affecting over 3 million patients each year in the US alone.

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

  • Common Cold
  • Irritants
    • Dirt
    • Shampoo
    • Soap
    • Eyedrops
  • Allergies
  • Fungi
  • Amoebas
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Bacterial infections

Types of Conjunctivitis


Viral conjunctivitis is the result of a viral infection like the common cold.


Allergic conjunctivitis is the result of allergies or contact with an allergen.


Bacterial conjunctivitis is the result of a bacterial infection like chlamydia.


Chemical conjunctivitis is the result of an irritant like soap or shampoo getting in the eye.


Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

  • Redness in the affected eye(s)
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Foreign body sensation in the eye
  • Watery eyes
  • Discharge from eyes that is green or yellow in color
  • Severe discharge at night that makes opening of eyes difficult in the morning
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity

Diagnosing Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis can be diagnosed by your primary care physician based on a physical examination and assessment of symptoms. If you have persistent or severe cases, you will likely be referred to an ophthalmologist for treatment.

Treating Conjunctivitis

Treatment for conjunctivitis is determined by the type. Bacterial conjunctivitis is most often treated with antibiotic eyedrops. Allergic conjunctivitis is usually treated with antihistamines. Viral and chemical conjunctivitis often resolves on its own with time.

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