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What is conjunctivitis?

 

Conjunctivitis is an infection or swelling of the membrane of the eyeball. It is a fairly common condition and is easy to prevent or treat.

 

What does conjunctivitis (pink eye) look like? 

 

The most obvious symptoms of conjunctivitis are redness, itchiness, and either thick discharge or watery eyes. Those who wear contact lenses are advised to stop wearing them immediately and seek specialist advice.

 

How do I know if I have bacterial or viral conjunctivitis?

 

Conjunctivitis can be bacterial or viral, both of which are highly contagious, which is why, often conjunctivitis effects both eyes. Diagnosing the type of conjunctivitis a patient has is critical to solving the problem. Symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis differ slightly to symptoms of a viral conjunctivitis, yet the treatment is very different.

 

Bacterial conjunctivitis symptoms and treatments

 

We often find a thick green or yellow secretions in bacterial conjunctivitis, patients often find that the condition starts in one eye with the second being effected days later. Careful attention must be made to stop the spread to other people through direct contact. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics for this type of conjunctivitis. If the antibiotics fail to treat the condition, then it is likely that the conjunctivitis is indeed viral.

 

Viral conjunctivitis symptoms and treatments 

 

This is often recognised through a more watery discharge and can last one or two weeks. This type of conjunctivitis cannot be treated with antibiotics. This type will subside on its own, however it is even more contagious than the bacterial conjunctivitis as it can be passed to other people through coughs and sneezes. Home remedies such as the application of tea bags may help improve the appearance of the eye. Patients find such remedies tend to reduce the redness and puffiness of the eyes.

 

Allergy Conjunctivitis

Some allergies can cause the eyes to be inflamed. This can be manged through avoiding the cause or using medicines that a specialist prescribes. Some contact lens wearers experience a reaction to the contact lens solution especially when trying new contact lenses or new solutions, furthermore long lens wear may cause irritation and therefore more frequent lens change maybe required. In such cases, taking out the lenses and seeking medical help is advisable. i

 

Chemical Conjunctivitis

The most common reason for chemical conjunctivitis is pollution, chemicals or chlorine in swimming pools. Washing the eyes to help get rid of the chemicals for several minutes may resolve the situation, however, if irritation and redness continues, it’s important to seek medical attention.

 

Should I wash my sheets after pink eye?

 

Yes, bacteria and viruses can spread easily, therefore it is important to keep a separate towel, change it regularly and wash the sheets to avoid a heavy virus or bacteria load being sustained.

 

How can I prevent pink eye?

There are various ways to minimize pink eye:

  • Frequent hand washing
  • Avoid touching your eyes
  • Don’t swim with your contact lenses
  • Don’t shower with your contact enses
  • Don’t sleep or nap with your  contact lenses

Conjunctivitis 1

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Ms Naz Raoof

Ophthalmologist specialising in Paediatrics
Adult and Paediatric Strabismus & Neuro-ophthalmology

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Miss Jane Olver

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Oculoplastic Eyelid & Lacrimal Specialist
Medical Director

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Ms Laura Crawley

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Cataract & Glaucoma Specialist

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Mr Sajjad Ahmad

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Cornea & External Eye Diseases, Cataract, Keratoconus & Refractive Surgery Specialist

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Mr Jaheed Khan

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Medical Retina & Cataract Surgeon

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Ms Tessa Fayers

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Oculoplastic, Lacrimal & Cataract Specialist

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