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Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) - Symptoms And Causes

Eyesight is one of the most important senses in the body, and 80% of what is perceived is through eyesight. Protecting it will reduce the odds of decreased vision and stay on top of eye diseases. But there are certain instances where you find yourself troubled by allergies or infections despite taking good care of your eyes. One such condition is conjunctivitis or pink eye. It is one of the most common eye infections and is usually harmless. Know more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of the pink eye during pregnancy.

What is a Pink Eye?

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye or conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the membrane that covers the inside of the eyelid and the white area. A bacterial or viral infection causes this inflammation. Sometimes it can also be caused by irritants, allergies, injuries, or abrasions. The issues resolve in a week and are usually harmless.

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Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

The cause of the condition is linked to the symptoms. However, some of the common signs of pink eye are:
  • The red or pink colour in the white part of the eye.
  • Inflammation or swelling of the conjunctiva
  • More tear production than normal
  • Itching
  • Feeling like something is stuck in the eye
  • Burning sensation or irritation
  • Mucus discharge or pus
  • Eyelids or eyelashes crust, especially during the time of waking from sleep
  • Wearing contact lenses causes discomfort
Other symptoms of this eye infection can be specific to the type of conjunctivitis. They are:
  • Viral conjunctivitis may happen after a flu, respiratory infection or cold. It may cause watery eyes.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis is usually accompanied by symptoms like sneezing, an itchy nose, asthma, and throat irritation.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis causes the discharge of pus that makes the eyelids stick to each other. This can occur following an ear infection.

What Causes Pink Eye during Pregnancy?

The causes of pink eye are the same as those for nonpregnant people. However, pink eye in pregnancy is common, as pregnant women are more susceptible because of low immunity. Below are some common causes of conjunctivitis.

What to do for Pink Eye during Pregnancy?

You can try home remedies if you know it is because of environmental allergies. If not, it is best to schedule a doctor’s visit. Also, for an untrained person, it is difficult to differentiate between bacterial and viral conjunctivitis. If the inflammation is due to a scratch, or injury from a foreign object in the eye, you would want it to be examined by a doctor and treated appropriately.

However, it can be treated by your primary care doctor or an eye doctor without a specialist. Ensure that you tell them about your pregnancy so that they can recommend safe medications.

Treatment for Pink Eye during Pregnancy

The treatment for conjunctivitis is based on the type of pink eye. Below are several options for treatment:

  • Medicated Eye drops: Antibiotic eye drops are provided if a bacterial infection causes pink eye. These drops ensure you feel better within a few days and return to normal quickly. Most of these are safe for you and the baby, but ensure you tell the doctor you are pregnant. When in doubt, call your gynecologist before using them. However, if conjunctivitis is due to a viral infection, eye drops won’t work, and other treatment options may be needed.
  • OTC medications: Pink eye can be painful; if that is the case for you, you can take a mild painkiller. An antihistamine taken orally also helps to reduce allergic pink eye.
  • Artificial tears are an excellent way to soothe irritated and inflamed eyes. These are not medicated and are used for itchiness, irritation, and dry eyes. If it is non-bacterial pink eye, it can help relieve some of the symptoms and is safe during pregnancy.
  • Home remedies: While this is not a cure, it can help reduce the symptoms if it is not viral or bacterial. You can gently cleanse the eyes with cotton balls or pads, cool or warm compresses, and soaked green tea bags. These are safe for use for pink eye in pregnancy but do not cure conjunctivitis. Nonbacterial pink eye resolves on its own in 7 to 14 days.

Pink Eye Prevention

Pink eye is a big annoyance and not dangerous to the baby or you. Talk to your doctor so that they can recommend safe treatment options. Pink eye is contagious; washing your hands frequently and not touching your eyes with dirty hands is the only way to prevent it. Follow good hygiene practices to prevent pink eye prevention after exposure in case you come across someone with this infection.


1. What are the three symptoms of pink eye?

Redness, itchiness, and watery discharge are the three common symptoms of pink eye.

2. What are the common viral causes of pink eye?

The viruses that cause the common cold, flu, and COVID-19 are the common causes of pink eye.

3. How is the pink eye virus spread?

It can come via contact with contaminated objects. It can also come from mother to baby. Droplets can spread bacteria.

4. Is pink eye painful?

Yes, In some instances, it can be itchy and painful. But some medications can soothe the pain and irritation.

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