Pink Eye Symptoms

pink eye infection in an adult
pink eye infection in an adult

Pink eye symptoms are commonly known as “Conjunctivitis.” It is characterized as inflammation and redness of the conjunctiva (covers the whites of the eye) and the inner part of the eyelids. It can affect one or both eyes. It disappears in 7-10 days. It is seen in both infectious and non-infectious causes. Infectious causes include virus or bacteria that are contagious; whereas, non-infectious causes include allergy, inflammations, chemical irritation and trauma. Pink eye may be visible in individuals of any age.

Conjunctivitis is caused by a virus, bacteria, or any allergic reaction, and is common among children; but they can also occur in adults.

Pink eye classification and symptoms

Viral pink eye

It is caused due to viruses, and it usually affects single eye.

  • Watery discharge (not yellow or green)
  • Sore throat
  • Common cold
  • Swollen eyes
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Painful sensitivity to light

Bacterial pink eye

It is caused by Streptococci and Staphylococci bacteria.

  • Pain in the eye (acute cases)
  • Irritation/grittiness
  • Yellowish or green colored  mucopurulent discharge, which causes the lids to stick together, usually after sleep.
  • Severe crusting of the infected eye and the skin surrounding it.
  • Greenish or yellow colored thick discharge from the eyes.
  • Lymph nodes swelling  in front of the ears.

Allergic pink eye

Allergans like pollen and dust cause allergic type of pink eye.

  • Pruritus or severe itching of the eyes
  • Pain in the eye especially when scratching incessantly and vigorously
  • Epiphora or the condition in which the eye produces too much tears
  • Redness of the eye which may also be aggravated if the patient keeps on rubbing the eyes
  • Photophobia or the atypical fear or irritation of the eye when exposed to light
  • Disturbance to the clarity of normal vision which may be attributed to the mucus discharges
  • Mucoid discharges brought about by constant rubbing
  • Swelling of the eyes
  • Crusting of the eyes

Chemical pink eye

Chemical irritants like smoke, shampoo, dirt, shampoo and pool chlorine causes chemical pink eye.

  • Pain
  • Cornea turns white (due to necrosis of conjunctiva)

Pink Eye Symptoms in Babies

  • Symptoms of pink eye are seen in babies depending on the cause of the symptom, whether bacterial, viral or allergic reaction.
  • Itchiness and swollen eyes and eyelids might be caused by a virus, which is also a common cause of conjunctivitis.
  • When you notice that there is a yellow or green discharge coming from the eyes and the lower eyelids as well, it may be  due to bacteria causing it.
  • Pink eyes symptoms in babies is thought to be caused by a virus or bacteria that are contagious. Your baby has been infected with the condition by ways of touching an infected person.

Image 1:

Pink eye symptoms picture

Pink Eye Symptoms in Children

  • Pink eye symptoms are commonly exhibited in children. It is because; the infection can easily be spread by just touching an infected eye, followed by touching their own eyes. And, touching an infected child is the most common cause of its widespread among children.
  • Nowadays, the air is polluted with a lot of eye irritant and pollutant that can cause an allergic reaction, thus causing pink eye in children.
  • If a child is having pink eye, he or she is advised by the physician to stay at home, and take complete rest. This is to prevent transmission to other children, since the infection is contagious. The child may return back to school at least 24 hours after the start of the antibiotics, or as long as the pink eye symptoms have improved.

Image 2:

Picture of pink eye

Pink Eye Symptoms in Adults

  • Adults are less likely to get infected, since adults are good at prevention that usually involves proper ways of practicing good hygiene and avoiding causative factors.
  • Also, adults know what to do and how to prevent getting infected by the condition as compared to children.

Image 3:

Picture of pink eye in an adult

Pink Eye Symptoms and Treatment

  • Home treatment is recommended for mild cases that will help alleviate the pain in your eyes, and keep your eyes drainage-free.  A cold or warm compress is helpful; but for pink eye caused by an allergy, a cool compress is much better. On the other hand, if the pink eye is caused by an infection, warm compress is advisable to reduce the swelling and redness.
  • Cleaning the eyes from the inside to the outside is the proper way. This is to reduce contamination of other areas of the eyes.
  • The treatment for pink eye basically depends on the cause and severity of the condition. Physicians may advise and recommend treatment for the swelling and redness.
  • For a pink eye caused by a virus, there is no known cure because the symptoms usually disappear without treatment in 1-2 weeks, although the physicians may sometimes prescribe antibiotics.
  • When a pink eye is caused by bacteria, antibiotic for pink eye is prescribed by the physician to combat the bacteria causing the condition. It can be administered in several ways, such as in the form of eye drops or ointments to be applied to the eyes for a few days.
  • Pink eye caused by allergies or allergic reactions is treated using eye drops for allergy such as Patanol.  With just about 2-3 drops daily, Patanol is known and proven to prevent pink eye caused by allergies. Ocular decongestants are the choice of drug here.

Pink eye prevention

  • Pink eye easily spreads in those areas where people live, play and work together with intimacy. If you are surrounded by any person with pink eye, you need to take certain precautionary measures, so that you don’t get a pink eye.
  • Prevent enrolling a child with pink eye in the preschools and day-care centers, as there are greater chances of infections getting spread.
  • As laboratory is a place, where eye infection gets easily spread due to usage of the same microscope for performing the work, it is better to avoid using the same microscope.
  • Computer keyboard, being shared by others, while working is a medium to spread pink eye; hence, they should wash hands prior to touching anywhere near the face.
  • Towels, personal items and bedding, which come in contact with the infected secretions shouldn’t be shared by others. It is advisable to wash as well as change the pillow covers and sheets every day.
  • Makeup materials should not be shared.
  • It’s better not to share eye drops, as it is a common medium for the spread of infections.



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