Pink eye or conjunctivitis develops when the membrane that covers the inner part of the eyelids and the white of the eyes -- the conjunctiva -- becomes inflamed. The vessels in the conjunctiva dilate, which makes them more visible and turns the white part of the eye a pinkish color. Though pinkeye can be irritating or painful and is quite visible, it is not usually a threat to vision.
The most classic and determinant symptom of conjunctivitis is pink or redness that develops in one or both eyes. It is very difficult to prevent the spread of conjunctivitis in the infected individual, so people with pink eye generally develop bacterial conjunctivitis first in one eye and then the other. Viral conjunctivitis, on the other hand, generally affects both eyes immediately.
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