“Pink eye” is a generalized term that is used to describe and eye that is irritated and red. There are many causes that can lead to this condition, and the treatments are just as varied.
Infections are usually the standard designation for pink eye. A viral infection (the most infections) will usually cause the eye to be red, sore, with some tearing. Like a cold, these are self-limiting, and will usually resolve within a couple of weeks. Treatment is usually limited to lubricating drops, as other avenues will be ineffective. When the cause is from bacteria, then the eyes will produce yellow-green mucus, and tend to be stuck shut in the morning. Here an antibiotic is prescribed to clear the eye. This usually clears up within a week with the treatment. Allergies will also cause some changes. Tearing and itchiness are the main symptoms, and usually tag along with stuffy noses and sneezing. They also tend to be seasonal. Anti-allergy drops will help to keep things in check until the offending plants quiet down. Another cause of red eye is iritis. This is an internal inflammation of the eye, which comes on as an aching eye, and light sensitivity. Steroid drops are necessary to quiet the eye back to its normal state. As you can see, “pink eye” is an umbrella term that can be used in many situations. The trick is to identify what is the source, so as to apply the appropriate therapy to get things back to normal.