The most common types of bacteria that causes bacterial conjunctivitis includes Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Bacterial conjunctivitis usually produces a thick eye discharge or pus and can affect one or both eyes.
Viral conjunctivitis usually produces a watery discharge. Typically the infection starts in one eye and quickly spreads to the other eye.
Unlike with bacterial infections, antibiotics will not work against viruses. No eye drops or ointments are effective against the common viruses that cause viral conjunctivitis. But viral conjunctivitis is self-limited, which means it will go away by itself after a short time.
Typically with viral conjunctivitis, the third to the fifth days are the worst. After that, eyes begin to improve on their own.
Treatments usually are continued for one to two weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
Gonococcal and chlamydial conjunctivitis
You can get pink eye from infections from sexually transmitted diseases including gonorrhea and chlamydia. Newborn babies may be exposed when they pass through the birth canal of an infected mother.
Trachoma is a form of chlamydial infection that causes scarring on the eye's surface. Trachoma is the world's leading cause of preventable blindness. If you are pregnant and suspect you may have a sexually transmitted disease, you need to be checked and treated for any infection before the birth of your baby.
The most common symptom of allergic conjunctivitis is itchy eyes, which may be relieved with special eye drops containing antihistamines to control allergic reactions.
Avoiding the allergen is also important in the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis can be seasonal or perennial (year-round), depending on the allergen causing the reaction.
Giant papillary conjunctivitis
This pink eye usually impacts both eyes and often affects soft contact lens wearers. This condition may cause contact lens intolerance, itching, a heavy discharge, tearing and red bumps on the underside of the eyelids.
You'll need to stop wearing your contact lenses, at least for a little while. Your eye doctor may also recommend that you switch to a different type of contact lens, to reduce the chance of the conjunctivitis coming back.
This conjunctivitis from eye irritation causing pink eye symptoms that can result from many sources, including smoke, diesel exhaust, perfumes and certain chemicals. Some forms of conjunctivitis also result from sensitivity to certain ingested substances, including herbs such as eyebright and turmeric.