Pink Eye Symptoms - Causes & Treatment

We are all a little blurry in the morning. The alarm goes off; you hit the snooze, stretch and rub your eyes. But wait, today something is wrong. In fact, you can barely open your eye. When you look in the mirror, your eye is red where it is supposed to be white. You may also notice:

  • A swollen eyelid
  • Eye dryness
  • Persistent tearing
  • Puss or discolored drainage
  • Severe itching

Put away the makeup and put the contacts back in the medicine cabinet. You may have pink eye. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is the swelling of the membrane that lines the eyelid and the surface of your eye. In most cases, pink eye is caused by a bacterial or viral infection but it can also be triggered by:

  • Allergies
  • Chemicals
  • Dry eyes
  • Exposure to sun or wind

Depending on the specific cause, pink eye can last anywhere from 3-7 days, but has been known to last up to 3 weeks. In rare cases, it can become ongoing or chronic. Those who suffer from an impaired immune system, have vision in only one eye, or wear contacts can be more susceptible to viral pink eye. 

Pink eye can be highly contagious. If you think you may have conjunctivitis, it is extremely important that you try to avoid spreading the infection and seek medical attention. While not usually a serious condition, untreated pink eye could have longer-term effects on the eye such as inflammation of the cornea.

Treatments for eye infections like pink eye include eye drops, antibiotics or creams. Compresses and other home treatments can make things more comfortable for you while the infection clears up.