The conjunctiva is a clear layer of tissue lining the eyelids and covering the white of the eye. Conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva becomes swollen or inflamed.
This swelling can be due to an infection, an irritant, dry eyes, or an allergy.
Inflammation - conjunctiva; Pink eye; Chemical conjunctivitis, Pinkeye; Pink-eye
Tears most often protect the eyes by washing away the germs and irritants. Tears contain proteins and antibodies that kill germs.
Pink eye is most often caused by viruses and bacteria.
- Certain forms of pink eye can spread easily among children.
- Newborns can be infected by bacteria in the birth canal. It must be treated at once to preserve eyesight.
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed due to a reaction to pollen, dander, mold, or other allergy-causing substances.
Anything which irritates the eye may cause pink eye also. These include:
- Chemical exposure
- Use of contact lenses (often with extended-wear lenses)
- Dry eyes, which can develop when the eye is unable to maintain a healthy coating of tears. Dry eyes may be caused by wind or sun, heat, problems with your eyelids, or certain rare immune disorders.