Pink eye (Conjunctivitis), is inflammation of the membrane covering the eye (the conjunctiva). Acute Pink eye frequently occurs with viral respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold or influenza, and may be highly contagious.
More severe attacks are usually caused by bacterial infections.

What causes pink eye?

Pink eye that is not associated with respiratory disorders may be caused by irritants, such as dust, cosmetics, or smoke, or by an allergic reaction to a specific substance, such as pollen or penicillin.
Pink eye may also result from the eye disorder trachoma and from a number of other rare afflictions or conditions.
Suspected pink eye should always be evaluated promptly by a health professional.

Pink eye symptoms

The eye tends to water profusely and the white of the eye is bloodshot or pink. The eye is painful when moved and may be oversensitive to bright light.
Sometimes, there is a discharge of pus from the eyelids.

How to treat pink eye?

A physician usually prescribes an antibiotic drug and other treatments, such as eyedrops.
Prolonged use of drops, however, may aggravate the inflammation.
Pink eye known to be caused by an allergy may be treated with corticosteroid drugs. Dark glasses give protection against bright light, but a patch over the eye may increase the inflammation.
If the eye is painful, a mild painkiller such as acetaminophen gives relief.
It is important not to rub the eye, because this may transmit the conjunctivitis to the other eye. For the same reason, patients with Pink eye must wash their hands often and use separate towels in order to prevent transmission of the disease.