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Conjunctivitis can have several causes see below , but many eye doctors use the term "pink eye" to refer only to viral conjunctivitis, a highly contagious infection caused by a variety of viruses. Moreover, with a few simple precautions, pink eye can often be avoided. One type of pink eye, though, can cause serious vision issues if it is untreated.
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See your eye doctor if you are concerned about your pink eye. Anyone can get pink eye, but office workers, store employees, preschoolers, schoolchildren, college students, teachers and child care workers are particularly at risk for the contagious types of pink eye because they work closely with others.
The primary types of conjunctivitis , based on cause, are:.
The primary symptom of pink eye is an eye that has a pink appearance. Other symptoms of pink eye depend on the type of conjunctivitis:. Conditions associated with conjunctivitis include dry eyes. Pink eye is usually caused by a virus, says Stein, and tends to clear up in a week or two without treatment.
Pink eye: Conjunctivitis symptoms, treatment and prevention
The drugs can cause cells on the surface of the cornea to slough off, leading to irritation, blurry vision and an increased risk of infection. They can also cause allergic reactions, kill off good bacteria on the surface of the eye and contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Stein says patients who are prescribed antibiotics for pink eye should feel comfortable asking their doctor how confident he or she is that the infection is caused by bacteria and not by a virus. Contact us at editors time.
By Amanda MacMillan June 30,