Q:

How do you know if you have pink eye?

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Quick Answer

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, may cause redness, swelling and itching, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states. A person may experience excessive tearing or feel like foreign matter is on the eye causing irritation. Crust often forms on the eyelids and eyelashes, and yellowish push may be discharged periodically. If an individual wears contacts, bumps on the eyelids may cause the lenses to fit uncomfortably or move around.

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Full Answer

Pink eye develops when the conjunctiva, the inner lining of the eyelid and the membrane covering the white of the eye, is infected or becomes inflamed, Mayo Clinic states. The membrane contains tiny blood vessels that swell and give the eye its distinct pink or red coloring. The condition is most often caused by allergies, bacteria or chemical exposure,

Infectious forms of conjunctivitis are contracted through streptococcal and staphylococcal infections or viruses, including colds, according to the American Optometric Association. Cases of allergic and chemical conjunctivitis are triggered by external irritants, such as contact lenses, chlorine and season allergens. When symptoms are mild, allergic conjunctivitis is easily treated with artificial tears to restore moisture and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling. In cases of chemical exposure, the eye is flushed and treated with topical steroids, unless severe damage or burns require emergency medical care.

While antibiotic ointment or eye drop may be sufficient to eliminate bacterial conjunctivitis, viral cases cannot be cured with medication, the AOA states. Patients are typically advised to wait for the infection to clear up naturally, but cold compresses or mild topical drugs may be used to relieve discomfort.

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