A to Z: Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

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A to Z: Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

May also be called: Pinkeye

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue covering the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. Conjunctivitis is also called pinkeye because it usually makes the eyes extremely red.

More to Know

Conjunctivitis can be caused by many of the bacteria and viruses responsible for colds and other infections; allergies; or a substance in the environment that can irritate eyes. Cases of pinkeye that are caused by bacteria and viruses are contagious; cases caused by allergies or environmental irritants are not.


Doctors usually recommend keeping kids diagnosed with contagious conjunctivitis out of school, childcare, or summer camp for a short time.

Keep in Mind

Pinkeye is a fairly common condition and usually causes no long-term eye or vision damage. Still, if your child shows symptoms of pinkeye, it's important to see a doctor. Newborns are particularly susceptible to pinkeye and can be more prone to serious health complications if it goes untreated.

To prevent pinkeye caused by bacteria and viruses, teach kids to wash their hands often with warm water and soap. They also should not share eye drops, tissues, eye makeup, washcloths, towels, or pillowcases with other people.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Related Resources

OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.

Related Articles

Seasonal Allergies (Hay Fever) At various times of the year, pollen and mold spores trigger the cold-like symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Most kids find relief through reduced exposure to allergens or with medications.
First Aid: Pinkeye Pinkeye is an inflammation of the white part of the eye and the inner eyelids. Although some kinds of pinkeye go away on their own, others require treatment.
Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis) Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, is the most common eye infection affecting kids. Learn more about pinkeye and how to prevent it from spreading.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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