Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the thin membrane lining the inner eyelid or white part of the eye. When inflamed, the eye turns pink or red, hence its name. Treatment of conjunctivitis depends on its root of cause. Possible causes include infections from viruses, bacteria, allergens, pollutants and underlying diseases of the body. Common symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Watery eyes
- White, green or yellow mucous discharge
- Crusting and stickiness around eyelids especially upon awakening
- Itching or burning sensation
- Swollen and tender areas in front of the ears
Conjunctivitis of viral and bacterial origin can be highly contagious. Tips for prevention of spreading the infection include frequent hand washing, avoidance of touching eyes and avoidance of sharing common objects such as towels, linens and make-up.
If you suspect you have conjunctivitis, it is important to have your eyes checked for medical treatment. Be careful not to use eye drops prescribed from previous infections or those prescribed for someone else as they can be inappropriate and can exacerbate your current infection.