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What are the symptoms of pink eye?

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The symptoms associated with conjunctivitis, which is commonly called "pink eye," are inflamed and red eyelids, a scratchy sensation in the eye, a red or pink coloration to the eye, a discharge from the eye and blurred vision. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the filmy and thin membrane, called the conjunctiva, that covers the white portion of the eye. When inflamed or irritated, the blood vessels supplying the conjunctiva enlarge and cause the eye to appear reddened.

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The causes of conjunctivitis can be a viral or bacterial infection, an allergic reaction or a chemical response to an alkaline or acidic substance. The symptoms of redness, swelling and discharge are common to all causes. Visual acuity and pupil reaction, however, should remain normal. The viral form of infection includes the symptoms of excessive itching and watery discharge. Viral conjunctivitis often accompanies an upper respiratory infection, sore throat or common cold.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is characterized by a discharge of pus and mucous that can cause the eyelids to stick together when awakening from sleep. The sufferer may feel like there is a foreign body stuck in their eye because of the severity of the scratchy feeling that accompanies a bacterial inflammation. A noticeable degree of crusting may also appear around the infected eye. Two of the common pathogens responsible for bacterial conjunctivitis are streptococci and staphylococci.

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