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Pink Eye vs Eye Infection: How is Pink Eye Different From Other Eye Infections?

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When it comes to eye health, every human being becomes attentive and cautious.

This is because our eyes are one of our body’s complex and precious organs.

Several eye infections, such as pink eye, can affect our healthy eyes.

Although pink eye is one of the common eye infections, various other eye infections besides pink eye can affect our eyes.

But how is pink eye different from other eye infections?

In this comparison article on pink vs eye infection, we will learn how pink eye differs from other eye infections such as Keratitis, Uveitis, and Stye.

In this comparison guide, we will compare pink eye with eye infections such as Keratitis, Uveitis, and Stye.

So, let’s proceed with this article and compare pink eye with other eye infections.

Pink Eye vs Eye Infection: Key Differences

Pink eye, medically known as Conjunctivitis, is an eye infection causing inflammation in the thin, transparent membrane called conjunctiva.

It is one of the most common eye infections. Annually, approximately six million individuals in the United States of America contract pink eye.

Whereas eye infection is a broad category of ocular disease. There are several eye infections besides pink eye.

An individual can also experience Stye, Uveitis, and Keratitis apart from pink eye. 

The affecting areas are different for eye infections, leading to distinct symptoms.

Keratitis affects the top layer of the eye, the cornea. Uveitis affects the middle layer, leading to inflammation in the uvea. 

However, the basic difference between Stye and pink eye is that Stye typically affects the eyelid. 

It forms when a small oil gland or hair follicle at the base of an eyelash becomes clogged and infected.

Now, coming toward the type of these eye infections, there are three types of pink eyes, i.e., bacterial, viral, and allergic.

But there are no types of Stye; however, there are various types of Keratitis and Uveitis.

Keratitis is of two types: infectious and non-infectious. In contrast, there are four types of Uveitis: Panuveitis, Anterior, Intermediate, and Posterior.

Let us move ahead in this article and find out about the symptoms of these eye infections.

Are you worried about eye infections and looking for an effective treatment option? For proper information, read Eye Infection Treatment: How to Get Relief Quickly.

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  • Zaha Eye Drop 3 ml (For bacterial pink eye)
  • Toba Eye Drop 0.3%(for infectious Keratitis)
  • Understanding the Symptoms of Conjunctivitis and Other Eye Infections

    Stye (bacterial eye infection)Source: Olga_Trofimova_from_Getty_Images
    Stye (bacterial eye infection)

    There are various symptoms of pink eye and other eye infections you need to look out for diagnosis and effective treatment.

    Although pink eye, Keratitis, Uveitis, and Stye are types of eye infections, there are several differences in their symptoms. 

    Let us look at the common symptoms of eye infections and pink eye.

    Symptoms of Pink EyeSymptoms of KeratitisSymptoms of UveitisSymptoms of Stye
    Thick yellow eye discharge, green eye discharge, or white eye discharge 
    Gritty feeling in one or both eyes
    Itchy eyes Burning eyes 
    Blurred vision
    Increased sensitivity to light
    Eye pain
    Blurry vision
    Problems opening your eyelid
    Watery eyes
    Red, irritated, and bloodshot eyes
    Feeling like something is in your eye
    Blurred vision
    Increased frequency of eye floaters
    Eye pain or pressure
    Light sensitivity
    Red eyes
    Vision loss
    Crusting along the eyelid
    Light sensitivity
    Soreness and itching
    A feeling that there’s something in your eye

    If you are experiencing these symptoms, it would be best to get immediate eye care.

    However, it is vital to note that individuals can also experience various other symptoms of these eye infections besides the mentioned ones.

    The symptoms of these eye infections may vary in individuals. Therefore, it is vital to visit an opthalmologist to gain more knowledge about the symptoms of these eye infections.

    Pink Eye vs Eye Infections: Causes

    Bacterial pink eyeSource: Siganture_image
    Closeup of a woman suffering from Bacterial pink eye

    Although the common causes of eye infections, including pink eye and Keratitis, are bacteria, viruses, and fungi, the causes of Conjunctivitis differ from other eye infections.

    Let’s talk about the common causes of pink eye and compare them with the causes of other eye infections.

    Pink eye is mainly caused by viruses, bacteria, and allergens. 

    If pink eye is caused due to bacteria such as Staphylococcus Aureus and Streptococcus Pneumoniae, it leads to bacterial pink eye.

    Apart from those mentioned, there are several other bacteria that cause pink eye. To learn more about the bacteria that leads to pink, read Finding the Answer: What Bacteria Causes Pink Eye?

    Similarly, several viruses like Coronavirus and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) are known to cause viral pink eye.

    And in the case of allergic pink eye, allergens such as dust and pet dander are responsible.

    According to research, allergens like pet danders might cause inflammation in the conjunctiva, causing an individual to experience allergic pink eye.

    Diagnosing these causes can help doctors prescribe effective treatment options to treat pink eye. 

    Therefore, it is essential to contact an eye specialist to diagnose the causes of pink eye.

    Now, let us look at the common causes of other eye infections to find out how they differ from the causes of pink eye.

    In the case of Keratitis, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi are responsible for causing Bacterial Keratitis, Viral keratitis, Fungal Keratitis, and Parasitic Keratitis, respectively.

    Besides these bacteria and viruses, dry eyes, surgical wounds, prolonged usage of contact lenses, and Vitamin A deficiency are also causes of Keratitis.

    However, in the case of Uveitis, the actual cause of Uveitis is not known, as several factors lead to inflammation.

    Some common factors that cause inflammation and lead to Uveitis are eye surgery, infections like chicken pox and Syphilis, and inflammatory diseases, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Finally talking about Stye, it is caused due to bacteria such as Staphylococcus. This bacteria is the most common cause of Stye.

    There are various risk factors, such as poor eyelid hygiene and stress, that increase the chances of experiencing Stye. 

    Therefore, it is advised to visit an eye care center if you are experiencing pink eye or other eye infections such as Stye, Keratitis, and Uveitis.

    Treatment Options: Eye Infections vs Conjunctivitis

    Although they may sound severe, the good news is these eye infections are treatable.

    It would be best to visit your nearby trusted ocular center to treat your eye infections effectively.

    There are several treatment options available for these eye infections.

    The treatment of pink eye depends on its cause. Antibiotics are often prescribed when the cause of the pink eye is bacteria.

    In the case of allergic pink eye, various antiallergens are used to manage the symptoms.

    However, there is no treatment available for the viral pink eye. 

    This type of pink eye usually gets treated independently, but doctors might prescribe tear drops to manage the severe symptoms of viral pink eye.

    Now, let’s proceed and look at the treatment of other eye infections and find out how the treatment of other eye infections differs from the pink eye treatment.

    In the case of Keratitis, its treatment depends on its type. 

    Doctors will prescribe antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral eye drops or oral medications and anti-inflammatory medications for the Keratitis treatments.

    Similarly, just like Keratitis, the treatment of Uveitis also depends on its type. 

    Steroids and eye drops are often prescribed to reduce inflammation, widen the pupil, and lower the eye infection.

    However, Stye does not require any treatment. Remedies such as a warm compress can help in the speedy recovery.

    But if the symptoms of Stye are persistent, doctors may prescribe antibiotics or recommend undergoing surgery to manage its severity. 

    Therefore, it would be best to seek medical advice for the treatment of these eye infections.

    Do not delay the treatment of Keratitis, as the delay in its treatment might lead to the development of severe symptoms like vision loss. 

    Tabular Comparison: Eye Infections vs Pink Eye

    FactorsPink EyeKeratitisUveitisStye
    Affecting areaConjunctivaCorneaUveaEyelids
    PrevalenceCommonLess commonCommonCommon
    SymptomsGritty feeling in one or both eyes
    Itchy eyes Burning eyes
    Eye pain
    Watery eyes
    Red, irritated, and bloodshot eyes
    Light sensitivity.
    Red eyes
    Vision loss
    Crusting along the eyelid
    Light sensitivity
    Soreness and itching
    CausesViral or bacterial infections, allergens, irritantsBacteria, fungi, viruses, Vitamin A deficiency, and using contact lenses excessivelyThere is no known cause of Uveitis. Factors such as eye surgery and inflammatory diseases, such as Lupus, might increase the risk of UveitisBacterial infection, and clogged oil glands
    TreatmentThe treatment varies according to the cause. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics and antiallergic eye drops The treatment varies according to the type.Doctors may prescribe antibacterial, antifungal, antiallergic, and teardrops The treatment of Uveitis also depends on its type. Steroids and anti-inflammatories in eye drops are prescribed They do not require any treatment. Home remedies like warm compress can provide relief from the symptoms

    Key Notes

    We all know that pink eye is a type of eye infection, but how is it different from other eye infections?

    After comparing pink eye vs eye infections, we found several differences between pink eye and other types of eye infections.

    As seen in the comparison table above, the symptoms of pink eye are different from the symptoms of other eye infections.

    Similarly, the pink eye also differs with other eye infections in terms of causes and treatment.

    Therefore it is essential to diagnose the cause of your underlying eye infection to treat them effectively.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do you tell if you have pink eye or just an irritated eye?

    Both pink eye and irritated eye might cause itchy and red eyes. If you are experiencing symptoms such as eye discharge, burning eyes, and blurred vision besides red and itchy eyes, this may indicate the presence of pink eye.

    Is eye infection always pink eye?

    No, an eye infection isn’t always pink eye. An individual can also experience eye infections such as Keratitis, Uveitis, Stye, and Cellulitis.
    It is suggested to contact an eye doctor to learn more about the different types of eye infections.

    Is pink eye the same as an eye infection?

    No, Conjunctivitis is not the same as other eye infections. Although it is an eye infection, it is not the same.
    Pink eye affects the conjunctiva and causes inflammation, whereas the affecting area is different for other eye infections. For example, Keratitis affects the cornea in an eye.

    Are other eye infections contagious, like Conjunctivitis?

    Yes, some eye infections are also contagious, like Conjunctivitis. The contagiousness of eye infections depends on the specific type and cause. 
    While some eye infections can be contagious, others are not. It is important to take effective preventive measures to avoid contagious eye infections.

    Can I wear contact lenses if I have pink eye?

    No, you should avoid wearing contact lenses if you have pink eye. Wearing contact lenses if you have pink eye might increase the risk of complicating eye infections by trapping the bacteria or irritating your eyes. 
    Seek medical advice from an eye doctor regarding wearing contact lenses.

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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