What’s the Difference Between Pink Eye and Allergies

We have broken it down for you to soothe your itchy, red eyes in the correct manner.

Red and itchy eyes are the obvious signs of pink eyes or allergies. It can be disconcerting when you don’t know the difference, and you are trying to find the right remedy to soothe your eyes. It is advisable that you pay a visit to your eye doctor. But before scheduling a visit to the doctor or hitting up the pharmacy, have a look at this guide to know the difference between pink eye and allergies. 

Pink Eye

Pink eye

Pink eye is a simple term for conjunctival inflammation or conjunctivitis. Conjunctiva is a thin layer that lines the inside and the white part of the eye. It helps in keeping your eyelids moist.

Pink eyes can ensue when the conjunctiva is infected by bacteria or virus or it is irritated by allergens. Increased tear production, burning, itching, and reddening in the white of the eye are some of the pink eye symptoms. However, conjunctivitis can exhibit itself in various other ways depending on its cause.

Pink eye diagnosis is not necessarily contagious Only bacterial and viral infections can be contagious. Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type of pink eye, which causes a burning sensation and watery discharge in the eyes. It feels more irritated as if something has gotten inside the eye in comparison to the itchy eye because of allergies.

Particularly its respiratory infection or flu virus that causes pink eyes. Usually, inflammation starts in one eye and spreads to both eyes within days, especially if you touch both eyes with the same hand.



Pink eye due to allergies is called allergic conjunctivitis. It is not contagious; it’s just your body responding to the allergens like pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and various others. Our bodies release histamine that causes inflammation in the body when you get exposed to allergens. And hence the vicious circle of intense tearing, itching, and swelling in the eyes starts.

You will probably find bumps under the eyelids that indicate it is because of allergies. These bumps are known as papillae.

Difference Between Pink Eyes and Allergies

In addition to the difference in the causes, pink eyes are also different from allergies in the symptoms, especially in the consistency of discharge. 

One of the clear symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis is the thick pus-like discharge from the eyes that makes the eyelids stick together.

Staphylococcus aureus is one of the types of bacteria that can infect your eye and cause bacterial conjunctivitis. However, sometimes, there is little to no discharge in this type of pink eye.

Along with keeping a keen eye on your symptoms, you should refer to your medical history as well. If you have a recent history of pink eye or seasonal allergies, that can help you narrow down the possible reasons. Moreover, you should recall if you have been around someone with pink eyes recently.

Most of the cases of pink eye are minor, and they clear up on their own; therefore, you don’t have to run to your doctor at the sign of mild itch or redness. Viral conjunctivitis usually takes up to two weeks to clear up. However, regular eye drops can speed up the healing process. If it doesn’t get better within two weeks, you need to go to your eye doctor. Your doctor will probably prescribe an antiviral medication for viral conjunctivitis, antibiotics for bacterial conjunctivitis, or allergy medications for allergic conjunctivitis. 

If you feel intense redness with pain, blurred vision, and light sensitivity, you should seek out your eye care professional without waiting for two weeks for it to clear up.

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