Posted March 12, 2013
You’ve probably heard people talk about pink eye, but do you know what it is and how to prevent it?
The medical term for pink eye is conjunctivitis, and it’s an infection that affects the inside of the eyelid and the thin, clear covering of the white part of the eye (called the conjunctiva). When the tissue becomes inflamed, the blood vessels swell and turn red, making the white area of the eye look pink.
Although conjunctivitis has several causes, medical professionals typically use the term “pink eye” when referring to a viral infection in the eye. This type of infection develops from an air-borne virus spread through coughing and sneezing. Usually pink eye goes away on its own after a few days.
Other types of conjunctivitis are developed from bacteria, fungi, allergies, or eye irritants, such as pollen, dust or animal dander.
Many forms of conjunctivitis are preventable. Regularly wash hands and don’t share eye drops, contact lenses, eye makeup or towels or cloths used by someone with pink eye.