Conjunctivitis

This is another extremely common disorder which affects both children and adults. Also called ‘pink eye’, caused by virus, bacteria, allergic reactions or chemicals. Diagnosis is easy due to the distinctive appearance of the eye. Eyedrops or antibiotics are treatments of choice. Since the disorder is communicable, keeping affected children away from others for 24 hours is advisable.

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What causes conjunctivitis?

  • Viruses.
  • Bacteria (such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia)
  • Irritants such as shampoos, dirt, smoke, and pool chlorine.
  • Allergies, like dust, pollen, or a special type of allergy that affects some contact lens wearers.

Symptoms

What are the Symptoms of Common Infective Conjunctivitis?

  • Infective conjunctivitis usually spreads to both eyes. The whites of the eyes look inflamed, and red or pink.
  • The eyes may feel gritty and may water more than usual.
  • Some mild soreness may develop, but the condition is not usually very painful.
  • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep.
  • Vision is not normally affected. You may get some blurring of vision due to discharge at the front of the eye. However, this clears with blinking.

Treatment

  • Not treating - this is a common option for mild or moderate infections. Your tears contain chemicals that fight off germs (bacteria). Without treatment, most cases of infective conjunctivitis clear on their own within 1-2 weeks. Often they clear within 2-5 days. If symptoms get worse then see a doctor to check your eye and to see if you need treatment.
  • Bathing the eyes - using cool clean water to soothe your eyes.
  • Lubricant eye drops - this will relieve eye discomfort. They are available over the counter, as well as on prescription.