Conjunctivitis occurs when the membrane that protects the eye, the conjunctiva, becomes inflamed. A red, watery eye is a primary symptom of this very contagious condition.
The University of Virginia Health System says possible causes of conjunctivitis include
An viral or bacterial infection.
An allergic reaction, often to a seasonal allergen.
Irritation from air pollutants or smoke.
Irritation from soap, chlorine or cosmetics.
Irritation from a chemical that makes contact with the eye.
Health Tip: Help Contain Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis, commonly called pinkeye, is a contagious infection affecting the membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner eyelid. The eyes of someone with conjunctivitis can appear very red and irritated.
The Nemours Foundation offers these suggestions to help prevent the spread of pinkeye
Do not touch a person who has pinkeye.
Do not touch objects (such as towels or tissues) touched by a person with pinkeye.
Stay away from a person with pinkeye who is coughing or sneezing.
Don't swim with a person who has pinkeye.
Keep kids home from school or daycare when they have pinkeye.
Wash hands carefully and often throughout the day.