What’s The Deal: Pink Eye & Eye Styes

woman's eye closeup

Did you grow up thinking a pink eye was the result of rubbing the eye after neglecting to wash your hands? How about eye styes? Did your friends think you were eating your boogers or watching dogs mate if you had one? There are many myths surrounding these two eye infections. Here’s the real deal:

According to AllAboutVision.com, pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is the inflammation of the sclera (the thin, clear covering of the white part of the eye) and conjunctiva (the inside of the eyelid). The conjunctiva contains blood vessels that overlay the sclera. When infected, the blood vessels dilate, causing the eye to turn “pink”. While conjunctivitis can be caused by feces and other bacteria, it can also be the result of a virus, such as a cold, or allergy. Among doctors, the term “pink eye” is used specifically to discuss viral infections.

READ: Where Do Styes Come From?

If your pink eye results in a thick, yellowish discharge in the corner of your eye, it’s most likely bacterial conjunctivitis and may require medical attention. Viral conjunctivitis, on the other hand, rarely requires medical treatment and usually heals on its own. Applying a cold towel over the eye a few times per day may alleviate discomfort. Pink eye is most common among children and students and is highly contagious towards teachers and daycare employees.