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Conjunctivitis (also known as "pink eye") is an inflammation of the eye. It describes a group of diseases that cause swelling, itching, burning, and redness of the conjunctiva, the protective membrane that lines the eyelids and covers exposed areas of the white of the eye (sclera).

Infective conjunctivitis can spread from one person to another through direct contact.

Conjunctivitis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, allergy, environmental irritants, a contact lens product, eyedrops, or eye ointments.

At its onset, conjunctivitis is usually painless and does not adversely affect vision.

Symptoms include red, itchy, swollen eye(s). There may be a watery or sticky discharge from the affected eye(s), and vision can become blurry.

A thick discharge (pus) on the eyekids is typical of a bacterial eye infection. A sore throat and fever preceeding the conjunctivitis suggest a viral infection. Chronic conjunctivitis is usually caused by an allergen irritating the eye.

Conjunctival infection will clear in most cases without requiring medical care. Infection typically resolves in about 1 week.

For some forms of conjunctivitis, treatment will be needed. In theses instances, if treatment is delayed, the infection may worsen and cause corneal inflammation and a loss of vision.


Bacterial conjunctivitis may be treated with antibiotic eye drops. Viral conjunctivitis treatment is symptomatic.

Cold compresses and artificial tears can help ease the symptoms. In severe cases, steroid eye drops may be prescribed by an ophthalmologist.

Conjunctivitis due to an infection will usually resolve within 7-10 days.

For allergic conjunctivitis, the mainstay of treatment is to avoid the allergen (if it is known). Antihistamines may help reduce the swelling and inflammation.

Source: Medic8


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