Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent layer that lines the inner eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.
The infectious type, commonly called “pink eye” is caused by a contagious virus or bacteria.

The three main types of conjunctivitis are infectious, allergic and chemical. The infectious type, commonly called “pink eye” is caused by a contagious virus or bacteria. Your body’s allergies to pollen, cosmetics, animals or fabrics often bring on allergic conjunctivitis. And, irritants like air pollution, noxious fumes and chlorine in swimming pools may produce the chemical form.

A good way to treat allergic conjunctivitis is to avoid the cause. If that is not possible, prescription eye drops may relieve discomfort. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotic eye drops. Other forms, caused by viruses, cannot be treated with antibiotics. They must be fought off by your body’s immune system, though a short course of topical steroids is necessary in certain cases.

How to control the spread of infectious conjunctivitis

  • Keep your hands clean and away from your eyes
  • Thoroughly wash your hands before applying eye medications
  • Do not share towels, washcloths, cosmetics or eye drops with others.
  • Avoid direct contact with others if possible.

Common symptoms of conjunctivitis

  • Red watery eyes
  • Inflamed inner eyelids
  • Blurred vision
  • A scratchy feeling in the eyes
  • Sometimes, a pus-like or watery discharge.

Conjunctivitis can sometimes develop into something that can harm vision so you should see your optometrist promptly for diagnosis and treatment.