Bacterial infection, such as
Allergic reaction, usually related to seasonal allergies
Chemical irritation caused by:
Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
Risk factors for conjunctivitis include:
Contact with a person who has conjunctivitis
Sharing towels, linens, or other objects (even doorknobs) with an infected person
Exposure to chemical or environmental irritants
Contact lenses, particularly if not maintained properly
Age: more common in children
Seasonal allergies or contact with known allergens
Red, watery eyes
Inflamed inner eyelids
Scratchy feeling in the eyes
Pus-like or watery discharge
Sensitivity to light
Swelling of the eyelid
Depending on its cause, conjunctivitis will usually clear up within 2-14 days. If conjunctivitis is caused by a seasonal allergy, it may continue to occur throughout the season. If it is caused by a non-seasonal allergy, it may continue to occur year round.
: These symptoms can sometimes indicate a more serious medical problem. If you develop these or any other symptoms, see an eye doctor immediately.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and examine your eye. If there is discharge from your eye, it may be tested to determine the cause of the conjunctivitis.
Treatment will depend on the cause of the conjunctivitis.
Antibiotic eye drops and/or ointment may be prescribed. This will help shorten the course of the infection and the time it is contagious. Wipe away any discharge that accumulates with a clean cotton ball before applying the medication.
There is no medicine to cure a viral infection. However, many doctors will prescribe topical antibiotics if they cannot rule out the possibility of a bacterial infection. Applying warm compresses or artificial tears (found in pharmacies) may help relieve symptoms. Your eye doctor may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory drop, which may help alleviate your symptoms.
Allergic or Chemical Irritation
Avoid the cause of the irritation (smoke, pollen, make-up, etc.). Apply cool compresses to the affected area. Your doctor may prescribe allergy eye drops to help relieve allergic conjunctivitis.
To Prevent Further Spread of Infection
Keep hands away from your face, and do not rub your eyes
Change pillowcases and towels every night
Do not share pillows or towels
Wash hands frequently
Avoid shaking hands with others
Carefully clean away any discharge with warm water and clean cotton or gauze, and immediately discard
If you are diagnosed with conjunctivitis, follow your doctor's
Strategies to avoid conjunctivitis include:
Do not share makeup or eye drops with anyone else
Avoid sharing towels, washcloths, pillows, and handkerchiefs
Wash hands frequently, and keep hands away from eyes
Wear watertight goggles when swimming
Clean contact lenses daily and never sleep with them unless approved by your eye doctor
In case of allergic conjunctivitis, avoid irritants and place allergy-proof covers on your pillows and mattress
Your eye doctor can discuss other methods to prevent conjunctivitis, depending on the cause
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a