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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

By DuPage Medical Group Ophthalmology

Conjunctivitis, the medical term for pink eye, is inflammation or infection of the transparent protective membrane that lines the eyelids and the white part of the eye.  When the blood vessels in the white part of the eye are inflamed it causes the eye to have a pink or reddish appearance.

Causes of conjunctivitis include:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Allergies (such as pollen, dust, mold, contact lens products)
  • Substances that cause irritation (such as shampoo, dirt, smoke)

Bacterial and viral causes of pink eye can easily be spread from one person to another. To minimize the spread of pink eye frequent hand washing, avoidance of sharing towels or pillows and avoidance of touching the eye are recommended.  Conjunctivitis usually does not affect vision and can be present in one or both eyes.

Symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Gritty feeling
  • Tearing
  • Discharge that can cause crusting of the eyelids

In most cases the infection will clear without medical care and with discontinuing contact lens wear. Seek medical care if you experience pain, light sensitivity, or blurry vision. Treatment for conjunctivitis varies depending on the cause and if other parts of the eye, such as the cornea, are affected.



Topics and Subtopics: Eye Care

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