Eye Spy – Conjunctivitis


Understanding Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is a widespread eye condition that affects millions of people each year. Characterised by inflammation of the conjunctiva—the thin, transparent tissue lining the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids—conjunctivitis can cause discomfort, redness, and discharge. Despite its prevalence, many myths surround this condition.

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

It is caused by various factors, broadly categorised into infectious and non-infectious types:

Infectious Conjunctivitis

  • Viral: Often linked to the common cold, viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and typically resolves on its own within one to two weeks.
  • Bacterial: Caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumoniae, bacterial conjunctivitis can lead to more severe symptoms and may require antibiotic treatment.

Non-Infectious Conjunctivitis

  • Allergic: Triggered by allergens like pollen, dust mites, or pet dander, allergic conjunctivitis is often seasonal and accompanied by other allergy symptoms.
  • Irritant: Exposure to irritants such as smoke, chlorine, or certain chemicals can cause conjunctivitis, usually resolving once the irritant is removed.


    They can vary depending on its cause, but common signs include:

    • Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
    • Increased tear production
    • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep
    • Itchy or burning eyes
    • Blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light


    Depending on its cause:

    • Viral Conjunctivitis: There is no specific treatment, and the condition usually clears up on its own. Applying cold compresses and using artificial tears can help alleviate symptoms.
    • Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Antibiotic eye drops or ointments are often prescribed to speed up recovery and reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
    • Allergic Conjunctivitis: Antihistamines or anti-inflammatory eye drops can provide relief. Avoiding known allergens is crucial in preventing recurrence.
    • Irritant Conjunctivitis: Flushing the eyes with water and avoiding the irritant are the primary steps. Over-the-counter eye drops may also help soothe irritation.

    Preventive Measures

    Preventing conjunctivitis involves simple yet effective practices:

    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
    • Avoid touching or rubbing the eyes.
    • Do not share personal items like towels, washcloths, or eye makeup.
    • Replace contact lenses as recommended and maintain proper hygiene.
    • Keep surfaces clean and disinfected, especially in shared environments.