Conjunctivitis

(Pink Eye)

Definition

Conjunctivitis is swelling and irritation in the eye. It affects the tissue that covers the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelid. This tissue is called the conjunctiva.
Eye with Conjunctivitis
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Causes

There are many causes of conjunctivitis including:
  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Allergic reaction, usually related to seasonal allergies
  • Chemical irritation caused by:
    • Air pollutants
    • Soap
    • Smoke
    • Chlorine
    • Make-up
    • Other chemicals
Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious.

Risk Factors

This condition is more common in children. Factors that may increase your risk of conjunctivitis include:
  • Contact with a person who has conjunctivitis
  • Sharing towels, linens, or other objects (even doorknobs) with an infected person
  • Exposure to chemical or environmental irritants
  • Contact lenses , especially if contacts are not cleaned and stored properly
  • Seasonal allergies or contact with known allergens

Symptoms

Symptoms include:
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Swollen inner eyelids
  • Scratchy feeling in the eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Pus-like or watery discharge
  • Swelling of the eyelid
Conjunctivitis will usually clear up within 2-14 days. If conjunctivitis is caused by a seasonal allergy, it may continue throughout the season. If it is caused by a non-seasonal allergy, it may continue to occur year round.Note: These symptoms can sometimes indicate a more serious medical problem. If you develop these or any other symptoms, see your doctor.

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