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Conjunctivitis (also called pink eye or madras eye refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva (the outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids). It is most commonly due to an infection (usually viral, but sometimes bacterial or an allergic reaction.

Classification can be either by cause or by extent of the inflamed area.

By cause
Allergic conjunctivitis
Bacterial conjunctivitis
Viral conjunctivitis
Chemical conjunctivitis
Neonatal conjunctivitis is often defined separately due to different organisms

By extent
of involvement Blepharoconjunctivitis is the dual combination of conjunctivitis with blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids).

Keratoconjunctivitis is the combination of conjunctivitis and keratitis (corneal inflammation).

Episcleritis is an inflammatory condition that produces a similar appearance to conjunctivitis, but without discharge or tearing

Signs and symptoms

Red eye (hyperaemia), irritation (chemosis) and watering (epiphora) of the eyes are symptoms common to all forms of conjunctivitis. However, the pupils should be normally reactive and the visual acuity normal.

Viral conjunctivitis is often associated with an infection of the upper respiratory tract, a common cold, and/or a sore throat. Its symptoms include watery discharge and variable itch. The infection usually begins with one eye, but may spread easily to the other.

Bacterial conjunctivitis due to common pyogenic (pus-producing) bacteria causes marked grittiness/irritation and a stringy, opaque, greyish or yellowish mucopurulent discharge that may cause the lids to stick together, especially after sleep

Chemical eye injury is due to either an acidic or alkali substance getting in the eye

Differential diagnosis
Conjunctivitis is a relatively non-specific symptom. Even after bio microscopy, laboratory tests are often necessary if proof of etiology is needed.