Pink eye is medically known as conjunctivitis and is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelids and covers the white part of your eyeball. Pink eye is a common eye condition that causes painful, red, and itchy eyes.
Causes and types of pink eye:
Bacterial – Sharing personal hygiene or other items can lead to the spread of bacterial caused pink eye. As well as using unclean or old makeup that has collected bacteria. Touching the eye with dirty hands can also result in bacterial pink eye. It is often caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus.
Viruses – A viral caused pink eye can be a result of an infection that spreads from the nose to the eyes or from a virus-like adenovirus or the herpes virus. This type of pink eye can also stem from an upper respiratory infection or cold.
Allergies – Gass, dust, mould, tree pollen and more can aggravate the eyes and lead to pink eye.
Is pink-eye contagious?
Pink eye is not contagious when it is caused by allergies. However, viral and bacterial pink eye are both highly contagious. Anyone, whether you are an adult or child, can get pink eye and should stay away from work, school, or daycare until their symptoms clear.
You are still contagious if you are experiencing any of the below:
- Eyes tearing up
- Eyes feel irritated
- A burning sensation
- Discharge from the eyes
- Crusty eyelashes and lids
- Swelling around the eyes
- Red or pink in the whites of the eyes
Pink eye can be highly contagious for as long as two weeks after signs and symptoms begin to appear. Early diagnosis and treatment can protect people around you from getting pink eye too.
Symptoms of pink eye:
- Redness in one or both eyes
- Itchiness in one or both eyes
- A gritty feeling in one or both eyes
- A discharge in one or both eyes that forms a crust during the night that may prevent your eye or eyes from opening in the morning
Seek medical attention if you experience:
- Intense redness in the eye(s)
- Moderate to severe pain in the eye(s)
- Symptoms that become worse or persist when the severe viral pink eye is suspected
- Vision problems, such as sensitivity to light or blurred vision, that do not improve when any discharge present is wiped from the eye(s)
- Signs of pink eye and you have a weakened immune system from HIV infection, cancer treatment, or other medical conditions or treatments
Pink eye can be diagnosed with a simple eye examination by a healthcare provider. In some cases, the type of pink eye can be determined by assessing the person’s signs, symptoms, and recent health history.