Pink Eye, also known as Conjunctivitis is an inflammatory response of the eye when something is causing the eye to be irritated. This irritation is most commonly from viral and bacterial infections, allergies, dry eye, autoimmune disorders and contact lens over wear. There are also many more serious conditions that can cause red eyes such as angle closure glaucoma, ulcers, corneal abrasions and herpes.
Pink eye is treated based on the cause. Artificial tears can help with all types of conjunctivitis since it lubricates the eye and can help wash out any irritants. For infectious conjunctivitis antibiotics and antivirals are commonly used. For allergic conjunctivitis antihistamine/mast cell stabilizers eye drops are commonly used for treatment. For other types of inflammation steroid eye drops may be used to bring the inflammation down.
Conjunctivitis can last anywhere from a couple hours to a couple weeks depending on the cause. If conjunctivitis consists of pain, light sensitivity, discharge, stickiness or lasts more than 24 hours it is important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible to find out the root cause and be treated appropriately. When conjunctivitis is suspected, patients should use artificial tears and use proper infectious hygiene until they are able to see the eye doctor.