Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)


Send Email

Recipient(s) will receive an email with a link to 'Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)' and will have access to the topic for 7 days.

Subject: Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

(Optional message may have a maximum of 1000 characters.)


List_set bdysylist

  • Ocular

The Basics

Written by the doctors and editors at UpToDate  
What is pinkeye? — “Pinkeye” is the everyday term people use to describe an infection or irritation of the eye. The medical term for pinkeye is “conjunctivitis.” 
If you have pinkeye, your eye (or eyes) might: 
●Turn red or pink 
●Weep or ooze a gooey liquid 
●Become itchy or burn 
●Get stuck shut  
Pinkeye can be caused by an infection, allergies, or an unknown irritation. 
Can you catch pinkeye from someone else? — Yes. When pinkeye is caused by an infection, it can spread easily. Usually, people catch it from touching something that has touched an infected person’s eye.  
If you know someone with pinkeye, avoid touching his or her pillowcases, towels, or other personal items.  
When should I see my doctor or nurse? — See your doctor or nurse if your eye is red, oozing, or in pain.  
Can pinkeye be treated? — Most cases of pinkeye go away on their own, without treatment. But, yes, it can be treated.  
When pinkeye is caused by infection, it is usually caused by a virus, so antibiotics will NOT help. Still, pinkeye caused by a virus will go away on its own in a few days. Pinkeye caused by an infection with bacteria can be treated with antibiotic eye drops or gels. Pinkeye caused by other problems can be treated with eye drops normally used to treat allergies. These drops will not cure the pinkeye, but they can help with itchiness and irritation. 
When using eye drops for infection, do not touch your good eye after touching your affected eye, and do not touch the bottle or dropper directly in one eye and then use it in the other. Both of these things can cause the infection to spread from one eye to the other. 
What if I wear contact lenses? — If you wear contact lenses and you have symptoms of pinkeye, it is really important to have a doctor look at your eyes. In people who wear contacts, the symptoms of pinkeye can be caused by serious problems.  
During treatment for eye infections, you might need to stop wearing your contacts for a short time. Plus, you might need to throw away your contact lens case and carefully clean your contacts. If your contacts are disposable, you will want to throw them away and start fresh. 
Can pinkeye be prevented? — To keep from getting or spreading pinkeye, wash your hands often with soap and water. If washing is not possible, alcohol-based hand gels work, too. Also, avoid sharing towels, bed clothes, or other personal items with a person who has pinkeye.  
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete. 
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Jan 25, 2016. 
Topic 15479 Version 8.0 
Release: 23.7 - C24.18 
© 2016 UpToDate, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about conditions, illnesses, injuries, tests, procedures, treatments, therapies, discharge instructions or life-style choices that may apply to you. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider's advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you.The use of UpToDate content is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use. ©2016 UpToDate, Inc. All rights reserved. 


© 2016 UpToDate, Inc. All rights reserved.