Signs and Symptoms of the Condition
Some common signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
- Pinkness or redness in one or both eyes. It can also begin in one eye and spread to the other eye after a couple of days.
- One or both eyes "stuck shut" in the morning.
- Morning crusting.
- Burning, sandy, or gritty feeling.
- Swelling of the conjunctiva and/or eyelids.
The discharge can vary in color (clear, yellow, white, green) and may be thick or thin.
(Click Pink Eye Symptoms for more information.)
Diagnosing Pink Eye
Before diagnosing the cause of pink eye, healthcare providers will ask a number of questions and perform a physical exam. Based on what they find, they may also recommend some tests. If they think that it is possibly conjunctivitis, they may test to see if it is being caused by adenovirus, which is the most common cause of viral conjunctivitis.
Other tests may be recommended if the healthcare provider wants to make sure another eye condition is not causing the symptoms.
How Is Pink Eye Treated?
The specific pink eye treatment your healthcare provider recommends will depend on what is actually causing the symptoms. For example, if a person is diagnosed with bacterial conjunctivitis, antibiotic drops or ointment will be prescribed. Medicines can also be used to treat conjunctivitis caused by allergies (see Medicine for Pink Eye).
There are no medicines that will cure pink eye caused by a virus. In this case, healthcare providers will treat the symptoms (such as itching or irritation) as the body takes care of the conjunctivitis on its own.
For all types of conjunctivitis, your healthcare provider may also recommend other treatments for home, such as warm or cool compresses and cleaning the eye regularly (see Home Treatment for Pink Eye).