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What is Pink Eye(Conjunctivitis)? How to Treat Pink Eyes

What is Pink Eye(Conjunctivitis)? How to Treat Pink Eyes
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mavra Farrukh

Pink eye is also known as conjunctivitis due to conjunctival inflammation. The conjunctiva is the clear skinny tissue that covers the inner of the eyelid and lies over the white segment of the eye. The condition most commonly affects children. It is contagious and spreads in public places like schools and daycare centers. 

However, the condition is not dangerous if you deal with it quickly. Ensure you follow all the doctor’s instructions so that the pink eye clears up completely.

Here in this article, you will get everything you need to know about Pinkeye and its symptoms.

What is pink eye? What is the appearance of pink eye?

Pinkeye is characterized by eye swelling, pus in the eye, redness, and fluid discharge from the eyes. The most common cause of conjunctivitis is allergies, infection due to bacteria, viruses, or contamination of the eyes.

Most people get relief from pink eye on their own within 4 to 7 days. If pink eye lasts more than a week or you start complications, medical assistance is needed. Treatment can provide relief from pinkeye symptoms.

Due to conjunctivitis, the eye color may become light pink or reddish. The eyelids can be droopy; fluid and discharge from Pinkeye can be present on the eyelids and eyelashes.

Symptoms of Pink-eye

There are many symptoms of pink eye or conjunctivitis. The most common symptoms of pink eye include redness in both or one eye. Moreover, it is observed that the eyes experience itchiness. A patient feels gritty in one or both eyes. 

Opening your eyes is very hard when you get up because of the pink eye in the morning. Fluid discharge from both or one eye makes the outer layer of eyelids hard to open. 

Causes of Pink Eye

The causes of pink eye include bacteria and viruses (those that cause the flu and cold), smoke, dirt, pool chlorine, and almost all irritants such as soap and shampoo. 

All reactive eye drops and all allergic things that affect the skin can cause pink eyes. Contact lenses also create allergic reactions to Pinkeye. Some other microorganisms also cause pink eye, including amoebas, parasites, and fungi.

Conjunctivitis or pink eye might be a consequence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Gonorrhea can bring about extraordinarily vicious bacterial conjunctivitis. 

Untreated infection may lead to loss of vision. Chlamydia can cause conjunctivitis in adults and children. In case a pregnant woman is already exposed to infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or other bacterial infections, there are chances that the infant will get exposed to the same infection at the time of delivery.

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Types of Pink Eye

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Bacterial pink eye is usually caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria that are normally present on your skin or mucous membranes. Insects, physical touch with different individuals, poor hygiene, and using expired or cheap makeup products/eye makeup and facial creams can also encourage contamination. 

Using contact lenses and allergic makeup that isn’t your own or improperly wiped clean can also promote bacterial conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis can transmit from one person to another in several ways.

The transmission mode includes hand-to-eye touch, eye contact with an infected object, sexual encounters that pertain to eye-to-genital indication, or vertically from mom to baby. Pink eye bacteria can spread through respiration tract droplets. 

Alternatively, the common bacteria in the conjunctiva can also cause conjunctivitis. Symptoms and signs of bacterial conjunctivitis overlap with other forms of conjunctivitis, such as allergic and viral conjunctivitis, which could make diagnosis difficult. Typical symptoms and signs of bacterial pink eye encompass:

  • Chemosis
  • Red eye
  • Eyelid swelling and aches
  • Purulent discharge that causes eyelids to stick together

Ophthalmia Conjunctivitis

Ophthalmia conjunctivitis is a dangerous pink eye infection that most likely affects newborn babies. A harmful bacteria can cause ophthalmia conjunctivitis. 

Ophthalmia conjunctivitis happens when an infant is exposed to gonorrhea or chlamydia as passing through the birth canal. For numerous years, U.S. delivery rooms have implemented antibiotic ointment to babies` eyes as a quality prophylactic treatment.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis generally takes place in those who already have seasonal allergies. The incidence increases as the eye come in contact with a substance that triggers an allergic reaction in the eyes.

Allergic conjunctivitis influences each eye and is modulated by a hypersensitivity-inflicting substance, including pollen. In reaction to allergens, your body produces an immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody. 

This antibody triggers individual cells known as mast cells withinside the mucous lining of your eyes and airlines to release inflammatory substances, such as histamines. The histamine that your body releases can produce numerous allergy symptoms and signs, such as pink or red eyes.

If you’ve got allergic conjunctivitis, you can have extreme itching, infection of the eyes, and tearing, in addition to watery nasal discharge and sneezing. Mainly, allergic conjunctivitis may be managed with allergic eye drops.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

Giant papillary conjunctivitis is a kind of allergic conjunctivitis due to the continual presence of a foreign body withinside the eye. People who use hard, inflexible contact lenses must switch to soft-touch lenses.

Viral Conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is typically caused by contagious viruses that cause the common cold. It can be transmitted through sneezing or coughing by someone with a higher respiration tract infection

Viral conjunctivitis can also arise due to the virus that spreads alongside the body’s mucous membranes, which join the nose, tear ducts, lungs, throat, and conjunctiva. Since the tears drain into the nasal passageway, forceful nose-blowing can cause a viral infection that transfers from your respiration system to your eyes.

Viral conjunctivitis is considered contagious. Most viruses that cause conjunctivitis are transferred via hand-to-eye touch through objects or hands which can carry the virus. Contact with eye discharge, fecal matter, contagious tears, or respiration discharges can contaminate fingers. 

Infected people are advised to prevent transmission by using separate towels, washing their hands frequently, and avoiding close contact with others during contagion.

Most acute, infectious conjunctivitis in adults is viral and self-limited; these cases do not usually require antimicrobial treatment. To treat viral conjunctivitis, patients can take antiviral medication to deal with severe symptoms of conjunctivitis, mainly caused by herpes varicella-zoster virus or simplex virus.

Check your symptoms and Get a treatment for pink eye

How can you find Pinkeye?

Only the doctor can provide a specific diagnosis, but you can quickly identify pinkeye complications with the help of some evident symptoms. You can check your eye’s color in front of the mirror; if you find the white part of your eye is light pink or reddish, that should raise some concern. Also, you constantly feel tearing, itching, and white and yellow discharge from your eyes.

Treatment for Pink Eye

The treatment of Pinkeye depends on the causes of the infection.


For pink eyes, use water to clean the eye for five minutes to remove contamination. After the proper treatment, your pink eye should improve within a few hours. If your conjunctivitis is caused by contact with alkaline or acid matter, including bleach, rinse the eyes thoroughly with clean water and contact your physician immediately.


Pink eye frequently results from the viruses that cause the common flu and cold. Just as viruses similarly cause the common cold, they can cause pink eye, which usually resolves in four to seven days.  

Remember, it could be very contagious, so take preventive measures against it to prevent its spread. Antibiotics will no longer assist you. Pink eye caused by the herpes virus can be severe and require a prescription for antiviral eye drops, ointment, or tablets.


Conjunctivitis from allergic reactions will most likely resolve when you seek proper treatment or remove the trigger. Antihistamines (both oral or drops) can provide comfort in the meantime. But remember that taking antihistamines through the oral route can make your eyes even more dehydrated if you are prone to developing dry eyes. See your physician if you assume your pink eye is because of an allergic reaction.


You may have to take antibiotics if bacteria associated with STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) trigger your pink eye. You might also want to use eye drops or ointments on the inside of your eyelid 3 or 4 times per day for up to 5 to 7 days. 

You may be prescribed an oral antibiotic for severe infections or pink eye caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia. You will have to take tablets and capsules for some time. The condition improves in a week.

Medical Conditions Associated with the Pink Eye.

Pink eyes are associated with multiple medical conditions. Some of them are acute, but others can be chronic. It is not wrong to say that pink eye can be an indication of different diseases and disorders.

The following are some commonly diagnosed pink eye-associated conditions.

Sore Throat and Pink Eye

Viral conjunctivitis typically results from a virus that causes the common cold. A person may have conjunctivitis symptoms individually, or they may be accompanied by a fever, a sore throat, a runny nose, pinkish discharge, and swollen lymph node glands

Pink Eye and Ear Infection

If the patient comes with bacterial pink eye, it is common for them to suffer from an ear infection too. The eyelids can be droopy, and mild or severe fluid discharge from the eye usually hints at a bacterial infection.

Diarrhea and Pink Eye 

A group of viruses known as adenoviruses contaminates the lining of your eye, digestive system, nervous system, airways, and lungs. 

Adenoviruses viruses are the primary cause of Pinkeye and diarrhea. This infection can be observed most commonly in children. 

Pink Eye and Covid

Infection with Covid-19 also cause pink eye. It happens when a condition occurs in a body tissue called the conjunctiva, which is the white part of the eye. 

Consult with our doctors and get prescription for pink eye Medications

How to relieve the symptoms of Pink Eye?

  • Wash your hands regularly, and keep your hands clean when you touch your eyes
  • The infection quickly enters through the mouth and nose, so don’t share your daily routine things like bath towels, handkerchiefs, and washing clothes with others.
  • Don’t use and mix cosmetics, eyeliner pencils, contact lenses, mascaras, and eye drops.
  • If you have pink eye allergies, don’t rub your eyes frequently.


  • In adults and children, conjunctivitis or pink eye can be the reason for infection in the cornea that may affect vision or eyesight. 
  • Trigger assessment and medication through your doctor for eye pain.
  • A feeling of something caught in your eye, blurring your vision, or being sensitive to light can be problematic. 

When to consult a Doctor for Pink eye

Several conditions can lead to eye redness. These diseases might also cause eye pain, a sense that something is \present in the eye continuously; it may blur vision and lead to increased light sensitivity. 

Please stop wearing contact lenses as soon as possible when you notice the symptoms of pink eye. If your signs and symptoms don’t begin to improve in 12 to 24 hours, consult with our online doctor at our doctors online to ensure that you receive the proper treatment.

Are you concerned about pink eye? Please chat with our doctor to find out more.

FAQs About Pink Eye Answered by Your Doctors Online Team

What causes pink eye?

Several infection-causing bacteria or viruses can cause pink eye. It can be an allergic reaction, but in the case of infants, it can indicate an obstructed tear duct. 

Can you get pink eye overnight?

Yes, bacterial and viral infections or an allergy can change the color of your eye overnight.

What to avoid for pink eye prevention?

Pink eye can be prevented by:
1. Keeping yourself hygienic
2. Do not use artificial lashes or eye makeup
3. Do not use low-quality or dirty lenses 
4. Avoid touching your eyes without washing your hands 

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