Pink Eye

Bacterial Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Bacterial conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, is an infection of your conjunctiva. This is the clear membrane that covers the white part of your eye and the inner part of your eyelid. This infection can make your eye:

  • Red or pink
  • Itchy

This condition spreads easily from person to person (is contagious) and from one eye to the other eye.

What are the causes?

Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by germs (bacteria). You may get the infection if you come into close contact with:

  • A person who has the infection
  • Items that have germs on them (are contaminated), such as face towels, contact lens solution, or eye makeup

What increases the risk?

You are more likely to get this condition if you:

  • Have contact with people who have the infection
  • Wear contact lenses
  • Have a sinus infection
  • Have had a recent eye injury or surgery
  • Have a weak body defense system (immune system)
  • Have dry eyes

What are the signs or symptoms?

  • Thick, yellowish discharge from the eye
  • Tearing or watery eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning feeling in your eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Blurred vision

How is it treated?

  • Antibiotic eye drops or ointment
  • Antibiotic medicine taken by mouth. This is used for infections that do not get better with drops or ointment or that last more than 10 days
  • Cool, wet cloths placed on the eyes
  • Artificial tears used 2-6 times a day

Find a Tower Health Urgent Care location near you if you are experiencing symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis.

Elsevier Interactive Patient Education © 2019 Elsevier Inc.

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