Most of us remember experiencing pink eye symptoms as a kid, especially because it was insanely uncomfortable, made of us touch any of our toys for fear of spreading icky eye germs. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an extremely common and treatable condition in both kids and adults. And it's often super contagious, so know how to spot a pink eye symptoms, it's the best way to prevent unknowingly passing it on to someone else. rub our eyes constantly, and meant we couldn’t play with our friends or touch any of our toys for fear of spreading icky eye germs. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an extremely common and treatable eye condition in both kids and adults. And it’s often super contagious, so knowing how to spot pink eye symptoms is the best way to prevent unknowingly passing it on to someone else.

Pink eye is an inflammation or swelling of the conjunctiva, the thin mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white of the eye, Andrea Thau, OD, president of the American Optometric Association and spokesperson forThink About Your Eyes, an awareness campaign that promotes the importance of eye health and an annual eye exam, tells SELF. According to the National Eye Institute, there are about 3 million cases of pink eye each year in the U.S. It's often caused by a viral or bacterial infection. 53 allergies or chemical irritants like cosmetics or chlorine. It usually affects one eye, but can definitely be affected both at the same time.

No matter the cause, pink eye symptoms are usually pretty consistent. Here are the things you should look out for. If you notice the following symptoms, stop rubbing and go see your eye doctor. Pink or red colored eye

1. Pink or red colored eye

"Since the lining of the eye is usually clear, an irritation or infection causes the vessels to engorge, becoming more visible to the naked eye, thus appearing pink or red," Thau explains. The blood vessels widen because of your body is trying to send more blood to the infected area. "The conjunctiva may become red if the blood vessels hemorrhage or bleed."

2. Itching or burning sensation

Whether from the infection itself, a foreign irritant, or the histamines are released during the body's response to an allergen, pink eye will likely make your eyes itchy. "Ironically, the more that you are, the more that itches," warns Thau. Touching your eyes is also an easy way to spread the infection. You can get rid of cornea if you have something in the eye, and can add more bacteria to the mix if you've got something on your hands. Bottom line: Resist the urge to touch.

3. Discharge from the eye

According to the Mayo Clinic, viral conjunctivitis usually produces a watery discharge, whereas bacterial often produces a thicker, yellow-green discharge. "Sometimes called rheum, eye discharge has a protective function, removing waste products and potentially harmful debris from the tear film and the front surface of your eyes," explains Thau. It's often the worst thing in the morning after your eyes. Swollen lymph nodes

4. Swollen lymph nodes

"Your lymph nodes act as filters in your body, collecting and destroying viruses and bacteria," Thau explains. Pink eye often causes swelling in one or both of the lymph nodes behind your ears-the closest ones to your eyes. This is a sign that your body's working to fight whatever infection caused the conjunctivitis.

5. A gritty feeling in the eye

Conjunctivitis can make it feel like something is in your eye, causing a gritty feeling. Thau notes there could actually be a foreign body that caused the pink eye (like an allergen) .

6. Excessive tearing

Tears keep your eyes lubricated, but they're also meant for flushing out invaders and keeping the eyes safe. When a foreign body or infection is present, your eyes are more likely to get out. With allergic conjunctivitis, the body releases antibodies to fight against the allergen, which triggers the release of histamines. Tearing is an effect of this allergy response.

7. Swollen eyelids

An allergic response, clogged glands, irritation, and inflammation can all make the eyelids swollen. The white of the eye may also become swollen when the pink eye is present. Light sensitivity

8. Light sensitivity

Sensitivity to light may occur with some forms of conjunctivitis, but if it's ever severe, or if you experience severe pain or vision changes, there may be a different eye infection at play. It's important to get checked out by a doctor to make sure nothing more serious is going on that can permanently impact your vision.