Conjunctivitis is the term used by medical doctors to describe inflammation of the conjunctiva which is a normally transparent covering of the eye. In simple terms, conjunctivitis is "pink eye."

The conjunctiva normally has fine blood vessels within it which can be seen under close inspection. When the conjunctiva becomes irritated or inflamed, these vessels enlarge and become more prominent and the eye turns pink or red.

There are many causes of conjunctivitis: bacteria, viruses and allergies to name a few.

Bacterial causes usually are associated with considerable amounts of pus. Viruses are often associated with a runny nose, sore throat and fever. The discharge is usually watery and often tinged with blood. Allergies also produce discharge and itchiness. Often it is difficult to differentiate between these causes but a thorough examination by Dr. Kronwith can help.

Rare causes of a pink or red eye include foreign bodies, corneal infections and inflammation in the interior of the eye. If what is assumed to be a simple conjunctivitis does not go away in a few days, or is associated with pain, poor vision or light sensitivity, your child should be seen by a pediatric ophthalmologist immediately.

Conjunctivitis, depending upon the cause, is often treated with eye drops. The doctor will prescribe these if he or she feels they are needed.