Location: Eye Health >> Eye Conditions & Diseases >> Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is infection or inflammation
of the thin, clear membrane that covers the surface of the eye and underside
of the eyelids.
Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, by
bacteria infection or by virus infection.
Allergic conjunctivitis has symptoms of redness, itchiness, and tearing.
White strands of mucous may appear in the eyes. Allergic conjunctivitis
usually occurs in both eyes simultaneously, although allergic conjunctivitis
that is caused by contact with an allergen and eye rubbing may be caused
in one eye only.
There are many new prescription medications in the form of eyedrops or
anti-histamine tablets that can help with the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis,
so your doctor should be consulted.
Bacterial conjunctivitis has symptoms of redness, itching and yellow or
greenish mucous in the tears. It will usually occur in one eye before
it spreads to the other, but may occur in both eyes at the same time.
It usually does not decrease vision. Bacterial conjunctivitis is highly
contagious and may be transmitted by physical contact or transfer from
doorknobs, sharing towels etc.
Treatment for bacterial conjunctivitis is antibiotic eyedrops. It is also
recommended that sheets, pillowcases and towels that someone else may
use be washed and that physical contact be avoided until the mucus discharge
Viral conjunctivitis has symptoms of redness, watering, extreme sensitivity
to light and sometimes but not usually white strands of mucous in the
tear film. It will usually occur in one eye before spreading to the other,
but may occur in both eyes at the same time. It usually is painful and
may decreases vision. Viral conjunctivitis can be highly contagious.
There is no medicine to help viral conjunctivitis and it must be left
to run its course. Good hygiene is very important and hands should be
continually be washed. Patients should also avoid direct contact with
other people until redness and watering start to resolve. Supportive therapy
in the form of wetting eyedrops and cool compresses for symptom relief
may be prescribed. It can take 4 to 6 weeks to totally clear and it may
prevent patients from wearing contact lenses for as long a 6 months due
to corneal problems that remain long after the original infection.