Conjunctivitis, commonly called pink eye, is a redness of the eye caused by inflammation of one of the layers of clear tissue (conjunctiva) that overlays the white of the eye (sclera). It is often accompanied by a discharge (clear, yellow, or white) and discomfort or itching in the eye.
Pink eye can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or an allergic reaction. Viral pink eye is highly contagious.
Prevention and Treatment
To avoid spreading conjunctivitis, wash your hands often, do not touch the infected area with your hands, do not share washcloths or towels, and avoid using makeup which may become contaminated. A child with pink eye should be kept from school for a few days. Sometimes an eye doctor will need to prescribe antibiotic eye drops and ointments to clear up conjunctivitis. Specific treatment depends on the type of conjunctivitis, e.g., an antibiotic will have no effect on a viral conjunctivitis.