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Eye Health Center

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Understanding Pink Eye -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Pink Eye?

Symptoms of pink eye vary depending on the type of pink eye you have.

  • Burning, itchy eyes that discharge a thick, sticky mucus may indicate bacterial pink eye.
  • Tearing, a swollen lymph node under the jaw or in front of the ear, and a light discharge of mucus from one or both eyes are often signs of viral pink eye. People with viral pink eye commonly have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection or cold as well.
  • Redness, intense itching, and tears in both eyes may indicate allergic pink eye.
  • Inflamed red bumps are usually visible on the underside of the upper eyelid in people with giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC). This occurs mainly in contact lens wearers, particularly those wearing soft lenses.
  • Slight blurring of vision.


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Retinitis is a disease that threatens vision by damaging the retina -- the light-sensing tissue at the back of your eye. Although there's no cure, there are steps you can take to protect your sight and make the most of the vision you have.

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Call Your Doctor About Pink Eye If:

  • You physically injured your eye. Eye injuries can become infected and lead to corneal ulcers, which could lead to irreversible vision loss.
  • Your eyes become extremely red when you wear contact lenses. Remove the lenses immediately and see your eye doctor; you may have a corneal ulcer or infection.
  • Your vision is affected or you have eye redness that is accompanied by pain or excessive yellow or green discharge. You may have a bacterial infection.
  • Your conjunctivitis frequently recurs or appears to be getting worse after a short period of home treatment; you may have a bacterial or viral infection.
  • Your newborn baby's eyes are red or produce a discharge. Your baby may have ophthalmia neonatorum, a condition that requires immediate treatment to prevent permanent eye damage.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on March 07, 2015

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