It is also called “Pink eye” an inflammation of the membrane covering the eye (the conjunctiva). Acute conjunctivitis frequently occurs with viral respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold or influenza and may be highly contagious. More severe attacks are usually caused by bacterial infections. Conjunctivitis that is not associated with respiratory disorders may be caused by irritants such as dust, cosmetics, smoke or by an allergic reaction to a specific substance, such as pollen or penicillin. Conjunctivitis may also result from the eye disorder trachoma and from a number of other rare afflictions or conditions. Suspected conjunctivitis should always be evaluated promptly by a health professional.