Pink eye, also known conjunctivitis, is the inflammation of the outside layer of the eye and the inside surface of the eyelids. It is usually caused by an infection that is viral, although it can also be bacterial. It is also possible to get pink eye as a result of an allergic reaction. There are several types of pink eye, including allergic conjunctivitis, bacterial conjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis, chemical conjunctivitis, and neonatal conjunctivitis.
Viral conjunctivitis is generally from the infection of the upper respiratory tract within the body, a cold, or even a sore throat. It can include the symptoms of watering eyes and itching. Although it can begin with one eye, it can also spread to both eyes if the individual is not careful. This is the type of conjunctivitis that is generally defined as pink eye. Individuals who have viral conjunctivitis will experience a pinkness of the conjunctiva are. Some people have claimed that their viral conjunctivitis has gone away on its own, although in most cases, it will usually require treatment from a prescription provided by the doctor. Generally this is available in the form of a cream or some sort of eye drops that need to be applied topically to the eyes on a regular basis until the infection goes away. Contact lenses should not be worn during the period of the time of treatment because the medication can get stuck under the lenses and then cause potential damage to the eyes.
The best way to prevent viral conjunctivitis is to take special care in dealing with hygiene and avoiding rubbing the eyes once the individual has been infected. The most common mistake is that once people have developed pink eye in one eye, they accidentally make contact with their uninfected eye by using the hand that had previously touched the infected eye. There are some vaccinations which are available to help prevent some of the infections associated with other forms of conjunctivitis, though this is not proven to have any affect in preventing individuals from becoming infected with pink eye. Unfortunately, pink eye is also an infection that people can catch repeatedly throughout their lives if they are in constant contact with other individuals who are infected and are not practicing good hygiene. Individuals who wear contact lenses are always advised to ensure that their hands and lenses have been completely sanitized before proceeding to wear their lenses.