Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis): Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, is characterized by reddening of the conjunctiva of the eyes, discharge from the eyes, and can be accompanied by other signs of infection like sinus congestion and runny nose. The eyelids may also be swollen.

With bacterial infections, there may be pus drainage from the affected eye.

Other symptoms of infection can accompany pinkeye, such as cough or earache.

Allergies can lead to redness in the affected eye along with tearing and intense itching.

Causes of pinkeye (conjunctivitis)

Pinkeye can be caused either by infectious or noninfectious processes. When infections are responsible, most cases are due to viral infections. Viruses likely to cause pinkeye include adenovirus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), poxvirus (molluscum contagiosum, vaccinia), picornavirus (enterovirus 70, Coxsackie A24), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Bacterial infections can also cause pinkeye symptoms, however. Staphylococci and streptococci are types of bacteria that commonly cause pinkeye, although gonococci and Chlamydia trachomatis may also cause bacterial pinkeye.

Allergic reactions are one cause of noninfectious pinkeye. Irritation, from chemical vapors, smoke, dust, or other fumes may cause noninfectious pinkeye.

Related Symptoms & Signs

Other pink eye

Next Article


Bacterial Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) Browse through our medical image collection of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and more See Images

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Yeung, Karen K. "Bacterial Conjunctivitis." Apr. 18, 2017. <>.