There are many types of eye infections, but the most common is called conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. This type of eye infection is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and part of the eyeball, and can affect one or both eyes. The cause is commonly viral, though it can be due to bacteria, among other things.
Some other types of eye conditions include:
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye)
Vernal conjunctivitis (seasonal inflammation)
Trachoma (bacterial eye infection)
Though pink eye infection is an irritating condition, it rarely affects vision. However, if pink eye infection is suspected, contact your health care provider as soon as possible because it is contagious. This is especially important for children because they are more susceptible to viral and bacterial pink eye infection.
Pink eye and red eye are terms commonly used to refer to all types of conjunctivitis.
Risk factors for developing pink eye infection include exposure to:
Viruses like the common cold
Bacteria in the birth canal for newborns
Someone else who has pink eye infection, which can be contagious for 7-14 days after symptoms first appear
Chemicals that can splash in the eyes
A foreign object in the eye
Extended contact lens use
Bacterial eye infection is more common in children than adults, so be sure to avoid close contact with others who may have eye infection and practice good hygiene to prevent viruses and bacteria.