SandsClinic

Conjunctivitis causes redness and inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye. It is a common condition. People often refer to conjunctivitis as red eye.

Causes of conjunctivitis. 

The thin layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye is called the conjunctiva. Common causes of inflammation of the conjunctiva include:

A bacterial or viral infection, an allergic reaction to a substance such as pollen or dust mites, the eye meeting things that can irritate the conjunctiva, such as shampoo or chlorinated water, or a loose eyelash rubbing against the eye known as irritant conjunctivitis.

Presentation

The symptoms of conjunctivitis will depend on what is causing the condition.

The two main symptoms are usually:

Red eyes because of the inflammation and widening of the tiny blood vessels in the conjunctiva (the thin layer of cells covering the front of the eyes)

Eye discharge the conjunctiva contains thousands of cells that produce mucus and tiny glands that produce tears inflammation causes the glands to become overactive, so that they produce more water and mucus.

Treatment

Treatment is not usually needed for conjunctivitis. Symptoms of conjunctivitis often clear up within a couple of weeks. If treatment is needed, the type of treatment will depend on the cause. In severe cases, antibiotic eye drops can be used to clear the infection.

Irritant conjunctivitis will clear up as soon as whatever is causing it is removed.

Allergic conjunctivitis can usually be treated with anti-allergy medications such as antihistamines if possible, you should avoid the substance that triggered the allergy.

It is best not to wear contact lenses until the symptoms have cleared up. Any sticky or crusty coating on the eyelids or lashes can be cleansed with cotton wool and water.

Washing your hands regularly and not sharing pillows or towels will help prevent it spreading.

When do you get in touch with Sandsclinic?

The following symptoms could be the sign of a more serious eye condition: pain in your eyes, sensitivity to light (photophobia), disturbed vision, intense redness in one eye or both eyes. We could refer to an ophthalmologist who would have a look and treat if there are any concerns.