Pink Eye Vs Stye: What's The Difference?

Pink eye and styes are two types of common eye infections that share a few similar symptoms. Both cause watery eyes, inflamed eyelids, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision. Although similar in many ways, the causes for each are different and treatment varies for both conditions (via Cleveland Clinic).

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an infection of the clear membrane that covers your eye, resulting in severe redness. Pink eye can occur in both eyes, but most of the time it affects only one eye. While viruses are the cause for most cases of pink eye, bacterial pink eye can also occur. Allergens, blocked tear ducts, and other irritants can also bring on a case of pink eye (via Mayo Clinic).

Pink eye is contagious, so you should wash your hands often to prevent the spread of germs. Be sure not to share makeup, towels, or other items until your pink eye clears up. In addition, you should wash your pillowcases often and use clean washcloths and towels when washing your face.

Unlike pink eye, styes are not contagious

On the other hand, a stye is an infection caused by either a blocked hair follicle or oil gland on the outer rim of the eyelid (via Cleveland Clinic). Styes usually appear as a single red or pink lump around the eyelashes that may or may not come to a head, much like a pimple. In most cases, styes are caused by harmless bacteria that live on your skin. Touching the eye is one way bacteria gets in the eye, but conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea also make eyes susceptible to styes.

The good news is that both of these conditions usually go away on their own. In the meantime, you can utilize a cool compress and eye drops to relieve pink eye irritation (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). A warm compress placed on the eyes for 10 to 15 minutes over the course of three to four times a day can help clear up a stye (via Healthline).

If either of these conditions don't clear up on their own in a few days, you may want to schedule a visit with your doctor for further diagnosis and treatment instruction.