Better known as "pink eye", conjunctivitis is the swelling or inflammation of the conjunctiva–-the thin, filmy membrane that covers the inside of your eyelids and the sclera, the "white part" of your eye. With conjunctivitis the eyes appear pink or red and may have discharge. Symptoms also may include irritation, itching, burning, discharge, or crusting of the lashes.



Pink Eye

There are two main types of conjunctivitis, bacterial or viral, and either form of conjunctivitis is quite contagious if it is infectious.

Some of the most common ways to get the contagious form of pink eye include:

  • Reusing handerchiefs and towels when wiping your face and eyes
  • Forgetting to wash your hands often
  • Touching your eyes
  • Using old cosmetics, and/or sharing them with other people
  • Not cleaning your contact lenses properly


The conjunctiva, which contains tiny blood vessels, produces mucus to keep the surface of your eye moist and protected. When the conjunctiva becomes irritated or swollen, the blood vessels become larger and more prominent, making your eye appear red. Signs of pink eye may occur in one or both eyes and may include:

  • Inflammation (swelling) of the eye
  • Redness in the white of the eye (conjunctiva) or the inner eyelid
  • Increased tearing
  • Soreness of the eye
  • A feeling of something in the eye
  • Itchiness of the eye
  • Hazy or blurred vision due to mucus or pus
  • Excess mucus (pus)
  • Crusting of eyelashes in the morning


With viral conjunctivitis, pink eye symptoms can last from one to two weeks and then will disappear on their own. Discomfort, however, can be minimized with cool compresses applied to the eyes, which is usually the only treatment that is necessary. If the pink eye is bacterial, an antibiotic drop will be indicated to treat the infection. With allergic conjunctivitis, taking antihistimines can help prevent the inflammation and cool compresses can alleviate discomfort.Avoiding Conjunctivitis

Practicing good personal hygiene can help prevent the spread of conjunctivitis if you are infected:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes with your hands
  • Avoiding Conjunctivitis
  • Change your pillowcase frequently
  • Avoid reusing towels, washcloths, handkerchiefs and tissues to wipe your face and eyes
  • Replace your eye cosmetics regularly with new ones, and do not share them with other people
  • Always clean your contact lenses properly