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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

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About Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye/Red Eye)

Conjunctivitis is most commonly referred to by its nickname, pink eye. There are numerous causes of pink eye, ranging from environmental items (such as smoke, poor air quality) to pathogenic (bacterial or viral conjunctivitis). It is generally easily treated assuming that its cause is known.

Pink eye may be intermittent or persistent (depending largely on its cause). If you have pink eye, please visit us so we can diagnose & treat your conjunctivitis1.

Causes & Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

There are many different types of conjunctivitis. The three most common are:


  • Viral conjunctivitis – This common type of conjunctivitis is caused by a virus (similar to the common cold). It cannot be treated with antibiotics, though its symptoms can be managed via numerous methods. If your case of conjunctivitis is viral, the best course of action is to manage the symptoms and let the virus run its course. Very contagious.

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis – Caused by bacteria, bacterial conjunctivitis is best treated with a course of antibiotics. Note that we may opt not to prescribe antibiotics if your pink eye appears to be clearing well on its own. Contagious.

  • Allergic conjunctivitis – Caused by environmental allergens, such as dander or pollen.


Pink Eye Symptoms

  • Pink/red eye and surrounding tissues
  • Itchy, burning, scratchy eyes
  • Watery/teary eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Yellow or green sticky discharge in the corner of the eye

Treating Pink Eye Symptoms

Conjunctivitis’ symptoms can be treated through a variety of effective mechanisms, including both over the counter and prescription-strength treatments.


  • Medicated eye drops – Antihistamine eye drops are effective for allergic conjunctivitis. Non-steroidal anti inflammatories (NSAIDs) and steroidal eye drops may also be used for severe cases.

  • Antibiotics – These are only used for bacterial conjunctivitis as they are totally ineffective for viral or allergic conjunctivitis. These may come in the form of eye drops or as oral medication.