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Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is an irritation or infection. It affects the membrane that covers the white of your eye and the inside of your eyelid (conjunctiva). It can happen to one or both eyes. It swells the membrane and the blood vessels dilate, causing the eye to turn red (hence the names "pink eye" or "red eye").
If you have one or more of the following conditions, you may need treatment:
Redness in and around the eye
Eyes that are puffy and sore
Itchy, burning or stinging eyes
Watery eyes or discharge from your eye
Eyelids that are crusted or stuck together when you wake up in the morning
Pink color in the whites of one or both eyes
Rapid treatment can help prevent damage to the eyes.
Pink eye can be caused by a viral infection, bacterial infection, or even allergies and other irritants.
When caused by a virus, pink eye usually disappears by itself. Artificial tears and warm compresses can alleviate the symptoms. Your licensed doctor may also prescribe eye drops. A viral infection can be very contagious and easily spread. To prevent this, wash your hands frequently. Use a separate tissue to wipe each eye. Do not touch your eyes or share sheets or towels.
Pink eye caused by a bacterial infection can be treated with eye drops. Your licensed doctor may prescribe eye drops or ointment to kill the bacteria. Warm compresses can help to keep the eyelids clean. To prevent the spread of the bacteria, wash your hands frequently. Use a separate tissue to wipe each eye. Do not touch your eyes or share sheets or towels.
Conjunctivitis caused by allergies and irritants is usually best controlled by avoiding the irritant. Artificial tears can help to rinse the eye and lubricate the surface. Your licensed health care provider may also prescribe eye drops to reduce swelling and relieve redness. In some cases, you may have to stop wearing contact lenses or eye makeup.
Visit with a Virtual Care health care provider online for help with your symptoms.