Conjunctivitis is a common condition that causes redness and inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye the conjunctiva. Read more about the symptoms of conjunctivitis. Read more about the causes of conjunctivitis. Treatment isn't usually needed for conjunctivitis, because the symptoms often clear up within a couple of weeks.
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Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, develops when the blood vessels in the transparent membrane, or conjunctiva, that line the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball get inflamed. The inflammation causes blood vessels to become more visible and gives the whites of the eyes a distinct pink or red tint, which is where the condition gets its name. There are four main factors that can cause pink eye: an allergic reaction, a foreign substance in the eye, a viral infection or a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by the herpes simplex virus. Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the eye. This bacteria is sometimes the same that causes strep throat. On the other hand, allergic and foreign-substance-caused conjunctivitis aren't contagious.
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Green or yellow pus discharge usually indicates a bacterial infection, while clear or white discharge is more commonly viral in origin. Itching is most typical of allergic conjunctivitis. The bad news is pink eye caused by an infection is incredibly contagious and fairly unpleasant.
In most cases, your doctor can diagnose pink eye by asking questions about your symptoms and recent health history. An office visit is usually not needed. Rarely, your doctor may take a sample of the liquid that drains from your eye for laboratory analysis culture. A culture may be needed if your symptoms are severe or if your doctor suspects a high-risk cause, such as a foreign body in your eye, a serious bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection.