Pink eye is the everyday term people use to describe an infection or irritation of the eye. The medical term for pink eye is “conjunctivitis”. Most cases of pink eye go away on their own without treatment. But some types of pink eye can be treated. When pink eye is caused by infection, it is usually caused by a virus, so antibiotics will not help. Still, pink eye caused by a virus can last several days.
If you have pink eye, your eye (or eyes) might:
- Turn pink or red
- Weep or ooze a gooey liquid
- Become itchy or burn
- Get stuck shut, especially when you first wake up
Pink eye can be caused by an infection, allergies, or an unknown irritation. When pink eye is caused by an infection, it can spread easily. Usually, people catch it from touching something that has been in contact with an infected person’s eye. It can also be spread when an infected person touches someone else, and then that person touches his or her eyes. If you know someone with pink eye, avoid touching his or her pillowcases, towels, or other personal items.