What is pink eye?

What is pink eye

The term “pink eye” is commonly used to describe any red eyes. It should be used to describe a viral conjunctivitis but is often confused for bacterial conjunctivitis, allergic conjunctivitis, or other common causes of red eyes.

Causes of pink or red eyes:

  • Viral conjunctivitis: a viral infection in or around your eyes is causing your eyes to try to fight the virus
    • Common symptoms include redness, tearing, irritation, fever, runny nose, sinus congestion, and sore throat.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis: your body is trying to fight a bacterial infection in your eyes.
    • Common symptoms include redness, thick discharge, irritation, and tearing.
  • Uveitis, Iritis, Iridocyclitis: There is inflammation in your eye which may be an overreaction to a common threat by your body or due to an autoimmune disease causing excessive inflammation.
    • Common symptoms include redness, pain, and sensitivity to light
  • Allergic Conjunctivitis: an allergen is causing irritation to your eyes and your body is trying to remove the allergen
    • Common symptoms include redness, tearing, itching
  • Dry eyes: If eyes become severely dry, the surface of the conjunctiva can become rough and irritated leading to redness
    • Common symptoms: dryness, burning or stinging sensation, gritty feeling, foreign body sensation, tearing, redness
  • Other causes of redness: 
    • Foreign body underneath the eyes, contact lens overwear, corneal abrasion, corneal ulcer, elevated intraocular pressure, fungal infection, pingueculitis, pterygium, etc.

It is important to be evaluated by your eye doctor to determine the best management to try to resolve or treat your specific red eye condition quickly. If you think you may have “pink eye” or red and irritated eyes, book an appointment online or call our office at (954) 726-0204.


Dr. Isabel Carvajal
Dr. Isabel Carvajal
Board Certified Optometric Physician
West Broward Eyecare Associates
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