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Inflammation of the conjunctiva, the delicate lining of the eyelids and the front of the white of the eye. It may be caused by infection (when it is commonly called pink eye), chemical burn, physical injury, or allergy. Often the cornea is also inflamed (keratoconjunctivitis). Infectious causes include several viruses and bacteria, including those that cause trachoma and gonorrhea, both of which can lead to blindness. Conjunctivitis from erythema multiforme, a skin eruption, can also cause blindness.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on conjunctivitis, visit Britannica.com.