It’s one of the most common eye problems for both children and adults. More commonly known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis has become a common issue among patients visiting local clinics and urgent care lately.

Pink eye is an inflammation of the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and eyeball. This membrane is called the conjunctiva. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become swollen and irritated, they’re more visible. This is what causes the whites of the eyes to appear reddish or pink.

Most of the time, pink eye is caused by either a virus or bacteria.  80% of acute cases of conjunctivitis are viral, accompanied by a common cold or respiratory tract infection.

Why is pink eye so common now?

According to a nationwide emergency department study, the occurrence of pink eye depends on various factors such as age, gender, and time of the year. Historically, pink eye is known to peak in children 0 to 4 years old in March, followed by other age groups through the month of May. The first peak is observed among children under 7, with the highest incidence between 0 and 4 years. The second peak occurs at 22 years in women and 28 years in men.

To control and prevent the spread of pink eye, you can do the following:

  • Don’t touch your eyes with your hands.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Use a clean towel and washcloth daily.
  • Don’t share towels or washcloths.
  • Change your pillowcases often.
  • Throw away old eye cosmetics, such as mascara.
  • Don’t share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.

If symptoms don’t get better after a few days or the pink eye gets worse, feel free to call your primary care provider, or check in using Mayo Clinic Health System’s new mobile app Primary Care on Demand which offers 24/7 access care to patients.

Recently Played

No playlist data.