Early Signs of Pink Eye

Last updated on November 1st, 2017 at 07:59 am

Before we talk about early symptoms of different types of pink eye, we need to understand the disease in general. Conjunctivitis, also referred to as pink eye, is swelling of the outermost layer of the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. It makes the eye appear pink or reddish. There might likewise be pain, burning, scratchiness, or itching. The impacted eye may have increased tears or be “stuck shut” in the early morning. Swelling of the white part of the eye might also occur. Itching of the eye is more typical in cases due to allergies. Conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes.

The most typical infectious causes are viral followed by bacterial. The viral infection might take place together with other symptoms of a common cold. Viral and bacterial cases are quickly spread between people. Allergies to pollen or animal hair is also a common cause. Medical diagnosis is frequently based upon signs and symptoms Occasionally a sample of the discharge is sent out for culture.

Prevention is partially by handwashing. Treatment depends upon the underlying cause. In the bulk of viral cases, there is no particular treatment. The majority of cases due to a bacterial infection will likewise deal with without treatment; however, antibiotics can reduce the illness. Those who use contact lens and those with either gonorrhea or chlamydia as the cause should be dealt with. Allergic cases can be treated with antihistamine or mast cell inhibitor drops.

About 3 to 6 million people get conjunctivitis each year in the United States.

In adults viral causes are more typical, while in children bacterial causes are more typical. Generally people improve in one or two weeks. If there is visual loss, significant pain, sensitivity to light, signs of herpes, or an individual is not enhancing after a week, further diagnosis and treatment might be needed.

pink eye early symptoms

Conjunctivitis in a newborn, called neonatal conjunctivitis, may also need specific treatment.

What Are the Early Signs of Pink Eye?

Red eye, swelling of conjunctiva and watering of the eyes are symptoms typical to all forms of conjunctivitis. Nevertheless, the students need to be normally reactive, and the visual skill normal.


Viral conjunctivitis is often related to an infection of the upper respiratory tract, an acute rhinitis, or a sore throat. Its first symptoms consist of extreme watering and itching. The infection typically starts with one eye, however may spread out easily to the other.

Viral conjunctivitis shows a fine, diffuse pinkness of the conjunctiva, which is quickly mistaken for the ciliary infection of iris (iritis), but there are typically corroborative signs on microscopy, particularly various lymphoid follicles on the tarsal conjunctiva, and in some cases a punctate keratitis.


Allergic conjunctivitis is swelling of the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the white part of the eye) due to allergy. Irritants vary amongst patients.

Earliest signs include soreness (primarily due to vasodilation of the peripheral small blood vessels), swelling of the conjunctiva, itching, and increased lacrimation (production of tears). If this is combined with rhinitis, the condition is called “allergic rhinoconjunctivitis”. The symptoms are because of release of histamine and other active substances by mast cells, which stimulate dilation of blood vessels, irritate nerve endings, and increase secretion of tears.


Bacterial conjunctivitis causes the rapid onset of conjunctival soreness, swelling of the eyelid, and mucopurulent discharge. Generally, early symptoms develop first in one eye, but might infect the other eye within 2-5 days. Bacterial conjunctivitis due to common pyogenic (pus-producing) bacteria causes marked grittiness/irritation and a stringy, nontransparent, greyish or yellow-colored mucopurulent discharge that might cause the covers to stick, specifically after sleep. Severe crusting of the infected eye and the surrounding skin might likewise occur. The gritty and/or scratchy feeling is in some cases localized enough for patients to insist they need to have a foreign body in the eye. The more severe pyogenic infections can be painful. Typical bacteria responsible for non-acute bacterial conjunctivitis are Staphylococci, Streptococci, Haemophilus sp. Less commonly Chlamydia trachomatis is involved.

Bacteria such as Chlamydia trachomatis or Moraxella can cause a non-exudative however consistent conjunctivitis without much inflammation. Bacterial conjunctivitis might cause the production of membranes or pseudomembranes that cover the conjunctiva. Pseudomembranes include a mix of inflammatory cells and exudates, and are loosely adherent to the conjunctiva, while true membranes are more securely adherent and can not be quickly peeled away. Cases of bacterial conjunctivitis that include the production of membranes or pseudomembranes are associated with Neisseria gonorrhoeae, β-hemolytic streptococci, and C. diphtheriae. Corynebacterium diphtheriae causes membrane development in conjunctiva of non-immunized children.


Chemical eye injury is because of either an acidic or alkali substance getting in the eye. Alkalis are normally worse than acidic burns. Mild burns will produce conjunctivitis, while more severe burns might cause the cornea to turn white. Litmus paper is an easy method to eliminate the medical diagnosis by confirming that the pH is within the normal series of 7.0-7.2. Big volumes of irrigation is the treatment of option and must continue till the pH is 6-8. Local anaesthetic eye drops can be used to decrease the pain.

Irritant or hazardous conjunctivitis show mostly marked inflammation. If due to splash injury, it is typically present in just the lower conjunctival sac. With some chemicals, above all with caustic alkalis such as sodium hydroxide, there may be necrosis of the conjunctiva with a deceptively white eye due to vascular closure, followed by sloughing of the dead epithelium. This is most likely to be connected with slit-lamp evidence of anterior uveitis.


Addition conjunctivitis of the newborn (ICN) is a conjunctivitis that might be brought on by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, and might lead to severe, purulent conjunctivitis. Nevertheless, it is usually self-healing.

Conjunctivitis is recognized by inflammation and inflammation of the conjunctiva in early stages. Other than in apparent pyogenic or toxic/chemical conjunctivitis, a slit light (biomicroscope) is needed to have any confidence in the medical diagnosis. Evaluation of the tarsal conjunctiva is generally more diagnostic than the bulbar conjunctiva.

Reyus Mammadli (Eyexan Team Leader) / author of the article
Bachelor in biomedical and electrical apparatus and systems. For more than 20 years he has been studying methods to improve health using affordable and safe methods. Collaborates with eye care charity organization of the CCP. Specialization is a vision correction by laser surgery, including LASIK.
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