Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid.
What Causes Pinkeye?
Pinkeye has a number of different causes, including:
- Bacteria (such as gonorrhea or chlamydia)
- Irritants such as shampoos, dirt, smoke, and pool chlorine
- Allergies, like dust, pollen, or a special type of allergy that affects some contact lens wearers
Pinkeye caused by some bacteria and viruses can spread easily from person to person, but is not a serious health risk if diagnosed promptly. Pinkeye in newborn babies, however, should be reported to a doctor immediately, as it could be a vision-threatening infection.