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Conjunctivitis, also known as "pink eye," is an inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye. The conjunctiva is the membrane that lines the inside of the eye and also a thin membrane that covers the actual eye.


Symptoms may include:


  • itchy, irritated eyes
  • thin drainage (usually seen with viral or allergic causes)
  • sneezing and runny nose (usually seen with allergic causes)
  • stringy discharge from the eyes (usually seen with allergic causes)
  • thick, green drainage (usually seen with bacterial causes)
  • ear infection (usually seen with bacterial causes)
  • lesion with a crusty appearance (usually seen with herpes infection)
  • eyes that are matted together in the morning
  • swelling of the eyelids
  • redness of the conjunctiva
  • discomfort when the child looks at a light
  • burning in the eyes

Causes may include:


  • bacteria:
    • staphylococcus aureus
    • haemophilus influenza
    • streptococcus pneumoniae
    • neisseria gonorrhea
    • chlamydia trachomatis
  • viruses:
    • adenoviruses
    • herpes virus
    • chemicals (seen mostly in the newborn period after the use of medicine in the eye to prevent other problems)
    • allergies

Treatment may include:


  • antibiotic eye drops
  • viral causes
  • medication

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton Hamilton. Phone: 609-586-7900 Physician Referral: 609-584-5900.

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