Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin tissue located above the white part of the eye inside the eyelid.
Conjunctivitis is caused by a variety of causes, including viruses, bacteria (such as gonorrhea or chlamydia), irritants such as shampoo, dirt, tobacco, pool chlorine, allergies. Also, when it is caused by certain bacteria and viruses it can be easily transmitted from person to person, but it does not pose a serious health risk if diagnosed early.
The symptoms of conjunctivitis vary depending on the cause of the inflammation, but may include:
redness on the white of the eye or the inside of the eyelid
increased amount of tears
thick yellow discharge that creates crust over the lashes, especially after sleep
green or white discharge from the eye
increased sensitivity to light
The ophthalmologist will perform an eye examination and use a cotton swab to take a sample of eyelid fluid for analysis in a laboratory. Bacteria or viruses that may have caused conjunctivitis, including those that can cause a sexually transmitted disease, can then be identified and appropriate treatment prescribed.
The treatment of conjunctivitis depends on the cause.
Bacteria: If the condition is caused by bacteria, it is treated with antibiotics, in the form of eye drops, ointments, or pills. Eye drops may need to be applied to the inside of the eyelid 3-4 times a day for five to seven days. The infection should improve within a week. Medication should be taken as directed by your doctor, even if the symptoms subside.
Viruses: Viral conjunctivitis can be highly contagious. Avoid contact with others and wash your hands often. If you wear contact lenses, you should throw them away and wear glasses. You should also avoid makeup. If you develop blurred vision, see your doctor right away because some viruses can cause corneal scarring.
Irritation: use water to rinse the irritated substance. Your eyes should start to improve within a few hours. If conjunctivitis is caused by acidic or alkaline materials such as bleach, rinse your eyes immediately with plenty of water and call your doctor immediately.
Allergies: Allergy associated with conjunctivitis should improve as soon as the allergy is treated and the allergen is removed. See your doctor if you have allergy-related conjunctivitis.