Eye infection, also known as pink eye, is the outermost layer of the white part of the eye and the swelling of the inner surface of the eyelid. It looks pink or red in the eye. Pain, irritation, scratches or itching can occur. Tears can increase in the affected eye or may "get stuck" in the morning. There may also be swelling in the white part of the eye. Itching is more common in cases of allergic reactions. Conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes.
The most common infectious causes followed by bacteria are viral. Viral infection can occur with other symptoms of a common cold. Both cases of viral and bacterial are easily spread among people. Allergic reactions to pollen or animal hair are also a common cause. Diagnosis is often based on signs and symptoms. Occasionally, a sample of discharge is sent to the culture.
Prevention is done partially by washing hands. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. In most viral cases, there is no specific treatment. Due to a bacterial infection, most cases are treated without treatment; However, antibiotics can reduce the disease. People who wear contact lenses and whose infections are due to gonorrhea or chlamydia should be treated. Allergic cases can be treated with antihistamine or mast cell inhibitor drops.
In the United States approximately 3 to 6 million people conjunctivitis each year. In adults, viral causes are more common, whereas in children, bacterial causes are more common. Generally, people get better in one or two weeks. If visual impairment, significant pain, sensitivity to light, symptoms of herpes, or if symptoms do not improve after one week, further diagnosis and treatment may be required. Conjunctivitis, in the newborn, known as neonatal conjunctivitis, may also require specific treatment.