Many people believe that any time their eye is pink, it must be pink eye. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, there are a number of different conditions that can cause your eye to appear pink. So, how do you know if it’s really pink eye or what is commonly misdiagnosed as pink eye conditions. Keep reading to find out.
What are the conditions that causes pink eye?
One of the most common causes of pink eye is allergies. Allergic pink eye presents similarly to viral or bacterial pink eye, with symptoms like watery eyes, itchiness, and excessive tearing. However, unlike viral or bacterial pink eye, allergic pink eye is not contagious. If you suspect your pink eye may be caused by allergies, paying attention to other allergy symptoms can be helpful in making a diagnosis. Do you have a runny nose? Are your sinuses congested? Are you sneezing more than usual? If so, chances are good that allergies are to blame for your pink eye.
- Dry Eye
Dry eye is another common condition that can cause your eyes to appear red and irritated. Dry eye happens when the tear glands don’t produce enough tears or when the quality of tears is poor. This can occur for a number of reasons, including certain medications, medical conditions, and even the natural aging process. People who suffer from dry eye often describe a gritty or sandy sensation in their eyes, as well as excessive tearing. If you suspect you may have dry eye, book an appointment with your ophthalmologist or optometrist. They will perform a simple test to check the level of moisture in your eyes and make recommendations accordingly.
Conjunctivitis—more commonly known as pink eye—is an infection of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that lines the inner surface of your eyelid and covers your eyeball. Conjunctivitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria, irritants like dust or smoke, or even allergies. The most common symptom of conjunctivitis is redness in the whites of the eyes; however, it can also cause itching, burning, excessive tearing, and a feeling of grittiness or sandiness in the eyes. Pink eye is highly contagious; therefore, if you suspect you may have it, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible so you can avoid passing it on to others.
The final approach
There are a number of different conditions that can cause your eyes to appear red and irritated. Allergies, dry eye, and conjunctivitis are just some of the most common causes of pink eye. If you suspect you may have pink eye—or if you’re not sure what’s causing your red eyes—seeing a doctor is always the best course of action. More than 50% of cases of pink eye are caused by viruses, which means that antibiotics will not help. They will be able to evaluate your symptoms and make recommendations accordingly.