Uploaded by mumsa1 on Jan 26, 2012
Conjunctivitis is an infectious eye condition caused by a virus.
In this article:
What is conjunctivitis?
How Chemist Online can help
Effect on your life
What is Conjunctivitis?
Infective conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva – the thin skin that covers the white part of the eye and inside of the eyelids) causes your eye to become red, itchy and watery. Although the condition can sometimes be caused by an allergy to pollen, animal fur and some cosmetics, it is generally caused by infection.
Conjunctivitis can affect people of all ages, including small children.
Although your vision will not be affected as such, symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
an itchiness in the eyes as they become red and sore due to the infection
a burning feeling in the eyes
swelling in the upper eyelids
watery eyes (and also a kind of milky coloured discharge)
a ‘glueyness’ around the eyes and eyelids area
a feeling of your eyes sticking together after sleep
cold-like symptoms, such as sore throat, fever and headaches, and
a sensitivity to light
Infective conjunctivitis is caused by:
sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia
Your symptoms should clear up after a couple of weeks. However, if they persist arrange an appointment with your GP. After taking your medical history, he or she will ask you questions about your symptoms and then assess your eyes by carrying out a short examination. It is unlikely that you will be referred to a specialist unless your symptoms are particularly severe.
Note: Sometimes the symptoms of conjunctivitis can be almost exactly the same as blepharitis, so your GP will need to examine your eye to rule this condition out. Other such conditions include acute glaucoma, keratitis and iritis – all serious eye conditions that can cause permanent damage to the eyes.
Effect on your life
As well as causing the aforementioned symptoms, conjunctivitis can be very inconvenient, making carrying out everyday tasks at home and at work difficult. It is also a contagious condition, so you must take extra care not to share towels, flannels, bedding or utensils with others in your home or at work.
Upon waking you will need to gently clean away the sticky, crusty substance in your eye lashes with cotton wool soaked in water.
If you have conjunctivitis you should not wear contact lenses until your symptoms have completely cleared up.
Try not to rub your eyes as this can prolong the healing process by worsening your symptoms.
Infective (and bacterial) conjunctivitis is usually cured by a course of prescribed eye...