Pinkeye- (Conjunctivitis)

What is pinkeye?

Pinkeye, medically called conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the eye that can be highly contagious. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria or allergies. Viral conjunctivitis may accompany other viral infections such as a cold or upper respiratory infection. Bacterial conjunctivitis may accompany bacterial infections such as an ear infection. Allergic conjunctivitis appears seasonally and may accompany other allergic issues like hay fever, asthma and/or eczema.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Drainage from the eye may be watery or thick depending on its cause
  • Itching
  • Redness or swelling of the eye
  • Gritty feeling
  • Crusty or matting of the eyelashes
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Sensitivity to light


Viral and allergic conjunctivitis symptoms can be treated with over the counter medications such as saline eye drops, allergy relief eye drops, loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), or fexofenadine (Allegra). Antibiotic eye drops do not treat viral or allergic conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis does need to be treated by a provider with prescription medications. If you have tried over the counter medications and your symptoms are not improving, or if your symptoms are getting worse, see a provider for assessment. Follow up with a provider as soon as possible if you are feeling pain in the eye or having visual changes.


  • Wash hands frequently because conjunctivitis can be highly contagious
  • Avoid rubbing or touching eyes
  • Avoid allergens or irritants such as dust or smoke that may trigger conjunctivitis
  • Avoid sharing personal item with someone who has conjunctivitis
  • Avoid wearing contacts during times of eye irritation and during treatment