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Pink Eye: Common, Treatable and Sometimes Contagious

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions that affects both children and adults.

Pink eye is an inflammation of the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid (conjunctiva) and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish color.

Pink eye can be caused by viruses, bacteria, allergens (dust, pollen, pet dander), or irritants like smog, smoke, or chlorine. When pink eye is caused by a virus or bacteria, it is very contagious.

Pink eye symptoms may vary, but usually include:

  • Redness or swelling of the white of the eye or inside the eyelids
  • Increased amount of tears
  • Eye discharge that may be clear, yellow, white, or green
  • Itchy, irritated, and/or burning eyes
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Crusting of the eyelids or lashes
  • Contact lenses that feel uncomfortable and/or do not stay in place on the eye

Treatment depends on the type of conjunctivitis you have. Some people with pink eye need to see a doctor because one type of pink eye can cause vision issues if left untreated.


If you have questions or concerns about your symptoms now, see a Mercyhealth health care provider at Virtual Visit Now.

Mercyhealth Virtual Visit Now gives you remote access to the best of health care from your phone, tablet or computer. Our Virtual Visit Now team can help you feel better from the comfort of your own home. After assessing your symptoms, they’ll recommend treatments that can include simple comfort measures, prescription medicine or an office visit.

Virtual Visit Now is not available for emergency care. If you need emergency care, please call 911.

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