Skip To Content
Vision For Life
Patient-centered eye care, service and commitment

What is Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is also known as pink eye and is a condition that occurs when the white part of your eye, called the conjunctiva, becomes either infected or inflamed. The reason that your eye takes on a pink color is because the blood vessels in your conjunctiva have become dilated. While you might have discharge coming from your eye when you have conjunctivitis, you’ll be able to see normally.

Causes

Pink eye can be caused by both viral and bacterial infections. If it’s caused by a viral infection, you might have either a cold or an upper respiratory infection when you have pink eye. When it comes to treating the condition, different methods can be used depending on if you have a viral or bacterial infection. Bacterial pink eye can be cleared up within a couple of days with ointments or antibiotic eye drops.

Symptoms

You’ll know that there’s a good chance that you have conjunctivitis if you ever have itchy or reddened eyes or a fluid coming out of your eyes. Your eyes might also feel gunky when you first wake up. Even though your eye might look terrible, chances are good that it will be back to normal within a week or two. While some individuals report a burning sensation, pink eye doesn’t cause long-term damage to your eyes. That being said, you’ll want to take your baby to your primary care physician if they show signs of pink eye since newborns are at risk of eye damage if they have it.

Avoidance

If you have conjunctivitis, know of someone who has it or if there’s an outbreak in your area, it’s best that you make sure to wash your hands often and do everything that you can to keep from touching your eyes and the skin around your eyes. If someone you live with contracts it, then it’s best that you don’t share towels or pillowcases.

It’s also recommended that you get as much rest as possible and that you eat foods that are rich in immune system-boosting vitamins and nutrients so that you can better fight off the infection. Stress can wreak havoc on your immune system, so get plenty of rest and give yourself time to properly decompress after a heavy work day.

Individuals who wear contacts and contract pink eye should remove their lenses, disinfect them and not wear them again until two days after their symptoms have completely cleared up. If not, they risk accidentally re-infecting themselves.

It’s also important to bear in mind that just because you have pink eye doesn’t necessarily mean that you have conjunctivitis. It could be a symptom of a more serious disease. Make an appointment with an ophthalmologist if your symptoms don’t clear up within a few days.