What is pink eye?
Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the eyelid and covers the white part of the eyeball. It happens when the conjunctiva is irritated by an infection or allergies. As small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, they are more visible. This is what causes the whites of the eyes to appear reddish or pink.
Conjunctivitis is spread by contact with eye secretions from an infected person. Some types of pink eye can be extremely contagious and easily spread from person to person. Symptoms include redness, itching and tearing in one or both eyes. It can also lead to discharge or crusting around the eye.
This is a very common condition and at Koby Karp Doctors Eye Institute we treat patients with conjunctivitis on a daily basis.
Most common pink eye symptoms:
- Redness in one or both eyes
- Itchiness in one or both eyes
- Watery or puffy eyes
- A gritty feeling like there is something in one or both eyes
- Burning eyes
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Being extra sensitive to light
- A sticky discharge in one or both eyes that forms a crust during the night that may prevent eye or eyes from opening in the morning
- Tearing of one or both eyes
Causes of Pink Eye
Pink eye is commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection or an allergic reaction. Though pink eye can be irritating, it rarely affects your vision. Treatments can help ease the discomfort of pink eye. Since pink eye can be contagious, early diagnosis and treatment can help limit its spread.
Types of Pink Eye
- Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type of pink eye. This conjunctivitis is very contagious and often spreads through schools and other crowded places. It usually causes burning, red eyes with a watery discharge.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is also very contagious. An infection from bacteria causes this form of pink eye. With bacterial conjunctivitis, you have sore, red eyes with a lot of sticky pus.
- Allergic conjunctivitis is a type of pink eye that comes from an allergic reaction to something. It is not contagious. Allergic pink eye makes your eyes very itchy, red and watery, and the eyelids may get puffy.
When to see a doctor
Keep in mind that there are other serious eye conditions that can cause eye redness. Typically, these conditions will also cause pain and blurred vision. If you experience these symptoms, seek urgent care.
People who wear contact lenses need to stop wearing their contacts as soon as pink eye symptoms begin. If your symptoms don't start to get better within 12 to 24 hours, make an appointment with Koby Karp Doctors Eye Institute to make sure you don't have a more serious eye infection related to contact lens use.
If you notice any signs or symptoms you think might be pink eye, call Koby Karp Doctors Eye Institute to make an appointment 502.897.1604. Pink eye can be highly contagious and early diagnosis and treatment can protect people around you from getting pink eye, too.