Conjunctivitis – more commonly known as pink eye – is an extremely common condition. It occurs when the conjunctiva – the mucous membrane that surface of the eye and the eyelid – becomes infected or inflamed.
The conjunctiva contains tiny blood vessels, which are normally not visible. However, when it is inflamed or infected, those blood vessels are more visible, which is what gives the eye a pink or reddish appearance.
Pink eye is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection, though it can also be the result of allergies. Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are extremely contagious. These forms of pink eye are spread through direct or indirect contact with the liquid of the eye of someone who is infected with the condition.
Viral and bacterial pink eye can affect one or both eyes. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by exposure to an allergen and it affects both eyes and isn’t contagious.
1. Pinkness or redness in the eyes
Whether you develop a bacterial, viral, or allergic pink eye, the hallmark symptom is pinkness or redness in the affected eye or eyes. The sclera – the white portion of the eyes – will appear red or pink in color.
The reason for this is because, as mentioned, the conjunctiva becomes inflamed or infected as a result of this condition, which can cause those tiny blood vessels that they contain, to become more visible, thus making the eye or eyes look red. Of course, there are several other conditions that can cause red eyes, such as exposure to an allergen that doesn’t result in pink eye, torn or dirty contact lenses, and dry eyes.
However, if you notice that one or both eyes suddenly appear pink or red in color and you are experiencing any of the other symptoms on this list, it could be conjunctivitis.