Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Illustration of pink eye.

Pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is the covering of the inside of the eyelids and the whites of the eyes. The medical term for pink eye is conjunctivitis. It is called pink eye when the cause is a bacterial or viral infection. This is because the white part of the eye looks pinkish-red. Conjunctivitis can also be due to an allergic reaction.

Conjunctivitis Chart

Questions to Ask

Self-Care / Prevention

For Pink Eye

•  Wash your hands often. Don’t share towels, washcloths, etc.

•  Avoid contact with other people as much as you can until you have used the prescribed antibiotic eye drops, etc. for 24 hours. Follow the rules of your workplace about pink eye. For children, follow the rules of their school.

•  With your eyes closed, apply a cotton ball soaked in warm (not hot) water to the affected eye 3 to 4 times a day. Do this for at least 5 minutes at a time. Use a clean cotton ball each time.

•  Throw away any makeup that could be contaminated. Don’t wear eye makeup until the infection is all cleared up. Don’t share makeup with others.

•  Don’t share eye drops with others.

•  Don’t put a cover or patch over the eye. This can make the infection grow.

•  Don’t wear contact lenses while your eyes are infected. Replace contact lenses or disinfect them twice before re-using.

Image of women with contact lens.

For Allergic Conjunctivitis

•  Avoid things you know you are allergic to.

•  Use over-the-counter eye drops. These soothe irritation and help relieve itching.

•  Apply a washcloth rinsed in cold water to the eyes. Do this several times a day.

•  Use protective eyewear when you work with chemicals and fumes.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.

 

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