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Friday, March 12, 2010

Pink Eye- What It Is and What You Need to Know About It

Pink Eye is the common name for conjunctivitis, and it is very common in children. What it is, is an inflammation of the clear mucous membrane that covers the surface of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. The inflammation is caused by viruses, bacteria or a foreign body (like a piece of dirt or pollen). It's generally not serious and goes away within 7-10 days without treatment. (It is serious if you have a weakened immune system or if you wear contact lenses. I remember my dad had pink eye when I was a little girl. He wore hard contacts and would rub his eyes with his contacts in, causing little cuts on the inside of his eyelids, which made his case of pink eye killer. He was in terrible pain and we ate dinner in the dark for a week.)

Symptoms of pink eye include:
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Swelling and redness of the eyelids
  • Watery, teary eyes
  • Itching or burning of the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Drainage
Pink eye is highly contagious. If you or your children have pink eye, you (they) should stay away from school, work, church and/or daycare. If it is caused by a virus you can return when symptoms improve (3-5 days). If it is caused by bacteria, you can return after using antibiotic drops for 24 hours. Most often it is caused by a virus, therefore there is generally no treatment. Seeing a doctor is your best bet, just to be safe.

Ways to Prevent Pink Eye:
  • Never share wash cloths, towels or pillow cases.
  • Stay away from bar soap.
  • Dust and vacuum frequently.
  • If you swim, wear goggles.


  1. Pinkeye occurs due to viral or bacterial infection. Allergic pinkeye develops due to pollens, animal shedding and certain cosmetic products. Viral pinkeye is very much transmittable. Allergic or chemical pink eye is non-contagious. There are many symptoms of pinkeye like reddishness on eyes, inflamed eyelids, excessive tear production, burning sensation, stuck eyelids, irritation etc. For more details refer Eye Diseases

  2. Thanks, for pointing out that clarification. Even though allergic or chemical pink-eye is not contagious, it's still best to have it checked out because what may look like allergic pink-eye can actually be bacterial or viral. And even if it isn't you can get drops to decrease the itching and irritation.