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Conjunctivitis, commonly called pink eye, is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane that lines the inner eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. Conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and can be highly contagious.
The inflamed, small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become more visible, causing the whites of your eyes to appear reddish or pink. Pink eye may affect one or both eyes.
Because pink eye can be highly contagious, early diagnosis and treatment can help limit its spread.
Conjunctivitis is typically a minor eye infection that responds quickly to treatment, but in some cases it can develop into a more serious problem.
You should see your primary care provider right away if you think you or your child has pink eye.
Most cases of pink eye are caused by a virus, but there are a few other causes that determine the type, including:
In rare cases, pink eye can be caused in babies from an incompletely opened tear duct.
Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea can be rare causes as well.
Though pink eye can be irritating, it rarely affects your vision. The most common symptoms are:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your primary care provider for a personalized treatment plan.
Your primary care provider can help ease the discomfort of pink eye. Your treatment plan will depend on the cause and type of conjunctivitis you have:
To help you cope with the symptoms of pink eye, these steps may help: