Pink eye symptoms: Discover how to recognize them properly and get quick and adequate help!

by Snezhana Besarabova

Almost every one of us had pink eye symptoms at least once, if not more times. It’s not really a pleasant situation, your eye hurts, and your vision is spoiled. Additionally, you’ve probably remembered that a condition like yours is highly contagious! All the reasons to feel upset. But we have good news for you! As pink eye is usually not a serious illness, and in most cases it clears up without any treatment. You only need a little patience, hygiene practice and washing the eye. Though, with some inflammations, like the ones caused by harsh chemicals in the eye, you need urgent help from a doctor. Look at these pieces of advice on pink eye treatment and how to recognize the symptoms that we’ve written for you.

When do we have pink eye?

What gets rid of pink eye fast symptoms and treatments

Pink eye, also called conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue lying inside the surface of the eyelid and outer layer of the eye. This inflammation is accompanied by redness of the eye, the specific “pink eye”. The conjunctiva tissue is responsible for keeping your eyeball and eyelid moist. But sometimes bacteria, viruses or allergens infect it and you get the pink eye.

When you have a pink eye, the white part of the eye looks light pink or reddish. At the same time, the eyelids are puffy, and they may sometimes be droopy. The infected eye may discharge fluid, or you might see even a crusting on your eyelids and eyelashes.

What are the pink eye symptoms?

pink eye symptoms-reddish-eyes-inflammation-and-itching (1)


Pink eye is quite easy to recognize, including recognizing the symptoms of the early stage of pink eye. They are:

  • Redness in the inner eyelid or in the white of your eye
  • Very frequent tearing
  • Yellow discharge that forms a crust over the eyelashes
  • White or green discharge from the eye
  • Itchy eyes – mostly in case of pink eye caused by an allergy
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning eye – mostly in pink eye caused by irritants like chemicals
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Sensitivity to light that is increased

What could cause conjunctivitis?

early stage pink eye symptoms-bacterial-conjunction-viral-contamination

Pink eye can be caused by a number of factors, mainly by viruses, bacteria or allergens.

  1. Viruses. They are the most common cause of pink eye, including the common cold or Covid-19.
  2. Bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumonia are among the most common types of bacteria that cause bacterial conjunctivitis.
  3. Allergens. They could be molds, pollen or different substances.
  4. Irritating substances. They include cosmetics, shampoos, dirt, contact lenses, pool chlorine and smoke.
  5. Foreign object in the eye.
  6. Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. Herpes simplex virus or chlamydia and gonorrhea bacteria can cause STIs in both adults and newborn babies.
  7. Incompletely opened or blocked tear ducts in babies.

How is conjunctivitis diagnosed and tested?

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Your ophthalmologist or pediatrician diagnoses conjunctivitis after examining your eyes. In not so common cases of bacterial inflammation, the doctor may want to check what kind of bacteria causes it. Especially if the infection is severe. With the help of a swab, the doctor collects the secretions from the eye, and sends it to a laboratory for testing.

Is the conjunctivitis infection bacterial or viral??

pink eye symptoms-in- toddler-unhappy-with-itchy-eyes

Your ophthalmologist or pediatrician determines by several signs whether the infection is bacterial or viral.

  1. Viral infection symptoms – Most often the color of the inflammation is light pink, if the infection is viral. If both eyes have pink eye, it is an almost sure sign that a virus is causing it. Viruses are the reason for most cases of pink eye in adults.
  2. Bacterial pink eye symptoms – A reddish color of the eye and a lot of discharge is usually connected with bacterial infection.
  3. Pink eye symptoms in babies and children are caused by both bacteria and viruses.

What is the treatment of pink eye?

The right treatment depends on the type of the infection.

  • In case of bacterial infection. The doctor will give you antibiotic eye drops or ointments. In some infections, antibiotic pills are needed.

pink-eye- symptoms-in-toddler-drops-in-the-eye

  • In case of viral infection. Conjunctivitis caused by viruses doesn’t need treatment. The only exceptions are herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus or sexually transmitted infections.

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  • When caused by an irritating substance. In most cases, when something gets in your eye and the eye hurts, all you should do is rinse the eye gently with water for five minutes. It’s expected that your eye will get better within four hours. But if the eye doesn’t improve, only a doctor can help. Especially if the substance in your eye is a strong acid or a chemical like drain cleaner. Please, rinse the eye immediately and call your healthcare provider!


  • When it is caused by an allergy. Apply cold compresses to the closed eyes to relieve the symptoms. In this situation over-the-counter eye drops, which contain antihistamines or anti-inflammatory drugs, are used.

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  • In case of sexually transmitted infection (STUs). This pink eye infection may be serious and needs a medical consultation. The greatest risk is the probable appearance of pink eye symptoms in babies that are born after pregnancy of STIs infected mothers. Newborns can lose their vision, in some cases.

Is it possible to get rid of pink eye fast?

symptoms-of-a- pink-eye-viral-infection-easy-to-cure

Many patients ask, “How do you get rid of pink eye fast?”. The answer is simple: mild cases of conjunctivitis can go away without any treatment for a few days, or up to a few weeks. Without any treatment!

Though, in case of bacterial infection, it’s possible to get rid of pink eye fast with antibiotic eye drops.

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