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Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

What is Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye?

Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye occurs when the clear tissue that covers the white part of the eye (conjunctiva) becomes irritated by an infection or allergies.

This can cause the conjunctiva to become red and swollen (inflamed) and sometimes a sticky discharge may be associated with this inflammation.

You can have conjunctivitis in one eye or both eyes.

Some types are very contagious.

There are three main types:

1. Viral Conjunctivitis

This is the most common type of pink eye and is generally caused by a viral infection, usually the same virus that causes runny nose, and sore throat of the common cold. Viral conjunctivitis is extremely contagious and usually causes red, burning, watery eyes.

2. Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is also very contagious. Caused by a bacterial infection, this type of conjunctivitis results in red, sore or painful eyes with sticky discharge.

3. Allergic Conjunctivitis

It generally results from an allergic reaction to something. The irritation can come from an allergic reaction to pollen, animals or even cigarette smoke, pool chlorine or other toxic substances. The main symptom is itchy eyes but it can also cause red, burning, tearing and puffy eyes. While the symptoms seem similar, this type of conjunctivitis is not contagious.


  • Foreign Body Sensation - the feeling that something is in your eye, or a gritty sensation in your eye

  • Red eyes

  • Burning eyes

  • Itchy eyes

  • Painful eyes

  • Watery eyes

  • Puffy eyelids

  • Blurry or hazy vision

  • Extra sensitivity to light

  • Thick discharge from your eye


Conjunctivitis usually goes away on its own within 1–2 weeks.

Treatment usually depends on the type of conjunctivitis you have. Your ophthalmologist will be able to determine the best treatment options.

You should see your ophthalmologist right away if:

  • You're in pain or have trouble seeing

  • You become sensitive to light

  • Your symptoms last more than 2 weeks or are getting worse

  • Your eye is producing a lot of pus or mucus

  • You have any other symptoms of an infection, like fever or achiness

Don't use “red-reducing” eye drops as these kinds of eye drops may be very uncomfortable if you have an infection and can make your symptoms worse.

How to Avoid Spreading Conjunctivitis

Basic hygiene can keep from spreading contagious conjunctivitis to other people or even your other eye.

  • Use a clean towel or tissue each time you wipe your face and eyes.

  • Wash your hands often, especially after you touch your eyes or face.

  • Change towels, and pillowcases daily.

  • Don't wear your contact lenses until your eyes are back to normal.

  • Don't share anything that touches your eyes e.g. sunglasses, make up brushes.

  • Do not use eye makeup while your eyes are infected.


Conjunctivitis || Ophthalmology Videos || Practice Online Education

Source: YouTube, Dr. Saurabh Shah


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