Conjunctivitis or “pink eye” is a term used to describe inflammation of the clear layer of tissue, or conjunctiva, that covers the white part of the eye. There are different causes of conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis may occur from bacterial, viral, fungal, or other microbial eye infection. It may also be an allergic response to an irritant such as pollen, grass, or some harsh chemical agent.
When an individual has conjunctivitis certain signs or symptoms may be present. A person eye may range in color from white to pink to red. Watery or mucus discharge may be present. Discomfort of the eye may not be present or can be mild to severe. Discomfort may also be in the form of itchiness. Light sensitivity may be associated with conjunctivitis especially if the cornea, or clear tissue overlying the colored part of the eye, is also involved.
The cause of the conjunctivitis may be determined by a persons symptoms or eye appearance, as well as from the events occurring before the eye problems. If the condition is severe and the cause cannot be determined or effectively treated, laboratory testing and analysis may help the eye care provider better diagnose and treat the problem.
Some Conjunctivitis may not require treatment, but only time to resolve and the addition of lubricating eye drops to improve comfort. The use of antibiotic eye drops may be needed to treat the problem. An antihistamine available in drop form may be advised. Sometimes more serious intervention is required. Your eye doctor can best determine the treatment plan. Follow up visits are advised to ensure that the condition resolves and does not get worse.