What is Pink-eye?

Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid.

Causes of Pink-eye

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) can be highly contagious and is most often seen in small children. It is rarely serious and unlikely to cause long-term damage or loss of vision if treated quickly. If pinkeye is suspected in a newborn, treatment is recommended immediately as there may be a higher risk to the infant’s vision and can be very serious.

Viral conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis, the most common and likely the most contagious, usually starts in one eye and spreads to the other. You may notice watery eyes, watery discharge, and possibly swollen lymph glands.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis, a bacterial infection of the eye, usually affects one eye, but can show up in both. It may occur with an ear infection and is more common in children than adults. Like viral conjunctivitis, it is also highly contagious.


Allergic conjunctivitis is a result of the body’s reaction to allergens, such as pollen from trees, dust mites, or makeup. Unlike viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, this form of pink eye is not contagious and usually occurs in both eyes. The eyes can become swollen, intensely itchy, and watery although discharge is not usually associated.

Symptoms of Pink-eye

Despite the cause of pink eye, the symptoms generally are the same and can include:

  • White of the eye(s) turning pink or red
  • Eyelids or/and the conjunctiva swelling
  • Tear production increase
  • Urge to rub eye(s)
  • Feeling like a foreign body is in the eye(s)
  • Itching, irritation, or burning of the eye(s)
  • Discharge (pus or mucus) secreting from the eye(s) – sometime causing eyelashes to stick together
  • Eyelids or lashes crusting, especially in the morning
  • Contact lenses feeling uncomfortable and/or not staying in place when worn

Diagnosing Pink eye

Eye redness or swelling can be a clear indicator of pink eye (all red, irritated, or swollen eyes are pinkeye), but other symptoms can vary depending on the root cause.