conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis) (2023)

Causes and risk factors

There are three main types of conjunctivitis: allergic conjunctivitis, infectious conjunctivitis, and chemical conjunctivitis. The cause of conjunctivitis varies depending on the type.

allergic conjunctivitis

  • allergic conjunctivitisIt is more common in people who already have seasonal allergies. They develop the condition when they come into contact with substances that trigger an allergic reaction in the eyes.
  • giant papillary conjunctivitisAllergic conjunctivitis is a form of allergic conjunctivitis caused by the prolonged presence of a foreign body in the eye. People who wear hard or rigid contact lenses, soft contact lenses that are changed infrequently, have exposed sutures on the surface of the eye, or wear artificial eyes are more likely to develop this form of conjunctivitis.

infectious conjunctivitis

  • bacterial conjunctivitisIt is one of the most common infections, caused by staphylococci or streptococci in the skin or respiratory system. Insects, physical contact with other people, poor hygiene (touching eyes with dirty hands), or the use of contaminated eye makeup and facial lotions can also cause infection. Sharing cosmetics and wearing contact lenses you don't own or cleaning them properly can also lead to bacterial conjunctivitis.
  • viral conjunctivitisMost commonly, it is caused by an infectious virus associated with the common cold. It can occur from exposure to the cough or sneezing of someone with an upper respiratory infection. Viral conjunctivitis also occurs when the virus travels along the mucous membranes of the body that connect the lungs, throat, nose, tear ducts, and conjunctiva. Blowing the nose vigorously can result in the transfer of viruses from the respiratory system to the eyes, as tears flow through the nostrils.
  • neonatal ophthalmiaIt is a serious bacterial conjunctivitis that occurs in newborns. This is a serious condition that can cause permanent eye damage if not treated right away. Ophthalmia neonatal occurs when a baby is exposed to chlamydia or gonorrhea while passing through the birth canal. For years, US delivery rooms have applied antibiotic ointments to babies' eyes as a standard prophylactic treatment.

chemical conjunctivitis

Chemical conjunctivitis can be caused by irritants such as air pollution, chlorine from swimming pools, and exposure to toxic chemicals.


Symptoms vary depending on the causes listed above. Allergy symptoms include a clear, watery discharge and slight redness. The itching is sometimes intense and may or may not occur. In the case of bacterial infections, there is usually mild pain, but it can be intense in appearance with moderate redness and almost always yellow/green discharge, sometimes extreme. This discharge can also cause the eyelid to become red, swollen, and stick to the lashes, giving it a crusty appearance.

Bacterial infections can be more serious in patients who wear contact lenses. Contact lens wearers are also at risk of bacterial corneal ulcers, which include severe pain and sensitivity to light. Viral infections can also cause moderate redness and are often painful. The pain is usually a gritty, gritty feeling, like you have something in your eye. There may also be moderate to severe photosensitivity.


Conjunctivitis can be diagnosed by the following tests.comprehensive eye exam. Tests (with special emphasis on the conjunctiva and surrounding tissue) may include:

  • The patient's history can identify the symptoms, when they started, and whether any general health or environmental condition is causing the problem.
  • Vision measurements to determine if vision is affected.
  • Use bright light and magnification to assess the conjunctiva and external ocular tissue.
  • The internal structure of the eye is evaluated to make sure the condition does not affect other tissues.
  • Complementary tests, which may include cultures or smears of conjunctival tissue. This is especially important in chronic conjunctivitis or when treatment is ineffective.

Using the information obtained from these tests, your optometrist can determine if you have pinkeye and suggest treatment options.

deal with

The treatment of conjunctivitis has three main objectives:

  1. Increase patient comfort.
  2. Reduce or lessen the process of infection or inflammation.
  3. Prevents the spread of infectious conjunctivitis infection.

The appropriate treatment for conjunctivitis depends on its cause.

allergic conjunctivitis

The first step is to remove or avoid the irritant if possible. Cold packs and artificial tears can sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases. In more severe cases, NSAIDs and antihistamines may be prescribed. People with persistent allergic conjunctivitis may also need topical steroid eye drops. Oral antihistamines may also be prescribed.

infectious conjunctivitis

This type of conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. Bacterial conjunctivitis may improve after three to four days of treatment, but patients must take a full course of antibiotics to prevent recurrence. viral conjunctivitis. There are no drops or ointments to treat viral conjunctivitis. Antibiotics cannot cure viral infections. As with the common cold, the virus should clear up, which can take two to three weeks. Cold compresses and artificial tears often relieve symptoms. In the worst cases, topical steroid drops may be prescribed to reduce discomfort caused by inflammation. However, these drops do not shorten the infection time. The highly contagious viral infection Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) is the conjunctivitis disease most associated with the term "pinkeye."

chemical conjunctivitis

Careful irrigation of the eye with saline is the standard treatment for chemical conjunctivitis. People with chemical conjunctivitis may also need topical steroids. Serious chemical injuries, especially alkaline burns, are medical emergencies that can lead to scarring, eye or vision damage, and even blindness. If the chemical comes into contact with your eyes, rinse them with plenty of water for several minutes before seeking medical attention.

Contact lens wearers may need to temporarily stop wearing contact lenses while the condition is active. If your conjunctivitis is caused by contact lens wear, your optometrist may recommend switching to a different type of contact lens or antiseptic solution. Your optometrist may need to change your contact lens prescription to lenses that you change more frequently. This helps prevent a recurrence of conjunctivitis.

Practicing good hygiene is the best way to control the spread of pink eye. Once the infection is confirmed, follow these steps:

  • Do not touch eyes with hands.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Change towels and bath towels daily and do not share them with other people.
  • Discard eye makeup, especially mascara.
  • Do not use eye makeup or personal care products on other people's eyes.
  • Follow your ophthalmologist's instructions for proper contact lens care.

Relieve the discomfort of viral or bacterial conjunctivitis by applying warm compresses to the affected eye. To apply a compress, soak a clean washcloth in warm water, wring it out, and gently apply to closed eyelids. For allergic conjunctivitis, avoid rubbing your eyes. Instead of using hot compresses, use cold compresses to soothe your eyes. Over-the-counter eye drops can also help. Antihistamine eye drops can relieve symptoms, and lubricating eye drops can remove allergens from the surface of the eye. If you think you have conjunctivitis, see your optometrist. He or she can diagnose the cause and prescribe the appropriate treatment.


With so many causes, there is no single preventative measure. Early diagnosis and treatment will help prevent the condition from getting worse. It also helps to avoid allergy triggers as much as possible. Even when nothing is wrong, washing your hands frequently and keeping them away from your eyes can have an effect.

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