The conjunctiva is what is commonly call the “white of the eye”, but actually it is a thin tissue membrane covering the white portion of the eye (the sclera). Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva.

You may have heard of this as “pink eye”.

Conjunctivitis has many causes including: bacterial infections; viral infections; allergies; and environmental irritants such as smoke and chemical fumes. The eyes normal reaction to this is to increase blood flow to the area that creates the red appearance.

If the amount of discharge from the eye is great or if pus is present, the infection may be acute (intense). Yet, some infections are chronic (long-lasting) and produce very little symptoms. You may experience little or no discharge and may only notice crusting of the eye lashes in the morning in addition to the redness.

Prompt consultation with your ophthalmologist is advised for acute or chronic conjunctivitis.