This refers to the inflammation of the membrane around the white region of the
eye-the conjunctiva. This is typically caused by a viral or bacterial infection and can also occur due to allergies (anaphylaxis). Many cases of conjunctivitis can be easily treated at home as they are not severe conditions that require prompt medical treatment.
If the condition does not improve within 5 days, visit your doctor.
Even though not all symptoms will occur together, symptoms will vary according to the cause—allergy, bacterial or viral infection.
- Teary eyes
- Reddened eyes
- Burning sensation or itchiness in the eyes
- Eyes feel grainy under eyelids
- Eyes discharge a thick and sticky pus
- The mucous discharge may cause your eyelids to stick together while sleeping
- Redness and itchy eyes—but not teary
- Condition only affects one eye
In case of babies, call your doctor immediately if you suspect he is suffering from conjunctivitis.
It is important that you keep your hands clean by washing them regularly with soap and water to prevent the spread of infections upon contact. Additionally, you must also keep your eyes clean and wipe off any discharge.
In order to treat conjunctivitis causes by a viral or bacterial infection, follow these steps:
- Keep your eyes clean at all times and wash them regularly. You can use a washcloth for this purpose, but make sure nobody else in your family uses it.
- You can apply a warm compress on the affected eye (s) 3-4 times a day for about 10 minutes.
- If you are suffering from a bacterial conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to alleviate the condition. Antibiotics do not work on viral infections, however.
For conjunctivitis due to allergies, follow these steps:
- Keep your eyes clean at all times and flush them regularly.
- Apply a cool compress on your eyes 3-4 times a day for about 10 minutes.
- Your doctor may prescribe anti-allergy drugs (antihistamine) to ease out the condition
When to call the doctor
- If you have gone through an eye injury
- The redness is affecting your eyesight or vision
- A baby is affected
- The condition does not improve within 5 days
In order to prevent the spread of conjunctivitis, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after cleaning your eyes.
- Do not touch your eyes. If you do, wash your hands promptly and do not touch anyone or anything to prevent contamination and infection.
- Do not share your personal belongings especially towels, pillow cases, beddings or any other object that may make contact with your eyes or its drainage. Dispose of tissues after use and make sure you change your pillow cases and beddings after use as well. Do not use the same washcloth to clean your eyes, use a different one instead.
- If your child is suffering from a bacterial conjunctivitis or pink eye, do not send him to school for a few days, until the condition improves to prevent infection from spreading.
Since conjunctivitis is not a severe medical emergency it is not covered in workplace approved training courses. However all first aid and CPR programs encourage participants to prevent the spread of disease and infections by using barrier devices and washing hands which is necessary in preventing the spread of pink eye.