Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So you think you have "Pink Eye."

All that is red eye is not necessarily "pink eye".

Conjunctivitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the very thin membrane that covers the inside of your eyelids and the white part of your eye (the sclera). It is most commonly referred to as “red” or “pink” eye and can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, allergies or environmental irritants. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

• Inflammation of the eye
• Increased tearing
• Soreness of the eye
• Foreign body sensation
• Itchiness of the eye
• Excess mucous (pus)
• Crusting of the eyelashes in the morning

Regardless of the cause, conjunctivitis should not cause a disruption in vision. More serious conditions, such as damage to the cornea, very severe glaucoma or inflammation inside the eye can also cause the conjunctiva to become inflamed and pink. If your case of “pink eye” affects your vision or you experience eye pain, you should see an ophthalmologist.