Frequently Asked Questions in Ophthalmology: What is Conjunctivitis?

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Eye Surgeons & Consultants

Ophthalmologist Alan Mendelsohn tends to patients’ eye care needs at Eye Surgeons & Consultants in Hollywood, Florida. Dr. Alan Mendelsohn holds an MD from Northwestern University, and maintains a focus on corneal afflictions and other diseases of the eye, including conjunctivitis.

Question: What is conjunctivitis?
Answer: More commonly called pinkeye, conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the thin tissue that covers the eye and inner eyelid. This inflammation can have a variety of causes, including viruses, bacteria, irritants, and allergens.

Question: How do people get conjunctivitis?
Answer: Conjunctivitis is commonly spread from one person to another in the form of a bacteria or virus. Pinkeye is not contagious when brought on by allergens or irritation.

Question: How can conjunctivitis be avoided?
Answer: Like most contagious conditions, conjunctivitis can be avoided by washing hands frequently, keeping hands away from the face and mouth, and refraining from sharing makeup and personal grooming items.

Question: Is conjunctivitis dangerous?
Answer: In most cases, conjunctivitis is merely annoying. However, it can also be a sign of an STI. Conjunctivitis in newborns should always be taken seriously, as it can cause permanent damage or loss of sight.