Conjunctivitis is inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane or conjunctiva. It is the layer that outlines the eyelid and envelops the white area of the eyeball. Once the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva are irritated, they become visible in the eye. This causes the whites of the eye appear reddish or pink. This condition is usually caused by bacterial, viral or an allergic reaction and it can affect one or both eyes. Conjunctivitis is a contagious disease.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis
- Blurred vision
- Redness or swelling of the eye
- Gritty feeling in the eye
- Itchiness of the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye pain
- Discharge from the eye that forms a crust especially in the morning upon waking up
- Viral conjunctivitis produces a thin, water-like drainage while the bacterial type produce a thick and yellow-greenish discharge. They are associated with colds and symptoms of respiratory infection such as sore throat.
- Allergic conjunctivitis due to an allergen-causing substance such as pollen.
- Irritation due to the splashing of a chemical or entry of a foreign object in the eye.
- Apply a cool and sterile compress on the affected eye to lessen the pain and discomfort.
- Use the prescribed over-the-counter eyedrops to lessen the gritty sensations the eye.
- Apply cool artificial tears in the affected eye for extra coolness. Cool the artificial tears in the fridge before applying.
- Maintain proper hygiene by washing hands as often as possible especially before and after touching the affected eye to prevent further damage.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as eye makeup, sunglasses, towels and other objects that comes in direct contact with the eye. Wash these items as often as possible especially the towels.
- Use clean tissues when wiping the eyes and make sure to throw them properly in the trashcan.
- Avoid touching the eyes with dirty hands. Wash hands as often as possible.
- Use antibiotics as instructed by the doctor
- Avoid swimming in public pools
- Discard eye cosmetics especially mascara.
- Avoid sharing eye cosmetics or other personal eye care items
- A person with viral conjunctivitis is contagious for a week or more. They can return to school or work when the redness and discharge subsides.