Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Pink Eye

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By Peter Rodrick

Pink eye or conjunctivitis refers to a redness or irritation of the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids and the membranes covering the whites of the eyes.

What Causes Pink Eye

The leading cause of pink eye is a viral infection, which is highly contagious. Bacteria such as staphylococci, pneumococci, and streptococci cause bacterial pink eye, which is also very contagious. Non-contagious pink eye can result from allergies or exposure to chemical irritants. Rheumatic diseases, Kawasaki's disease, and certain inflammatory bowel diseases can cause pinkeye. Additionally, dry eyes from lack of tears or exposure to wind and sun can cause pink eye, as can foreign bodies such as dirt or bugs.

Viruses and bacteria can cause eye infections. Infection may begin in the eye or elsewhere in the body, such as the nose or throat. Sexually transmitted diseases can also cause eye infections

Symptoms of Pink Eye

Symptoms generally depend on what type of pink eye you have: infectious pink eye or non infectious.

Symptoms caused by viral and bacterial pink eye include red watery eyes (accompanied with discharge) and irritation. It is likely to start in one eye and spread to the other. Infectious pink eye is contagious.