Conjunctivitis is a term used to describe inflammation or infection of the clear skin, or conjunctiva, that covers the white part of the eye…the sclera. Viral infection, bacterial infection, and allergy are the three main causes of typical conjunctivitis. Their symptoms and signs can differentiate them.
By far the most common form of conjunctivitis that is caused by any of the common cold viruses. It is usually preceded by an upper respiratory infection or contact with someone who has a cold. It typically starts in one eye but quickly spreads to the other eye as it is very contagious.
Symptoms: Red eye, clear tear discharge, eyelids pasted shut upon awakening,foreign body sensation or ache.
This conjunctivitis typically lasts about one week but can last longer. Because it is highly contagious, frequent hand washing is necessary to prevent spread of the infection and one should not work if their job requires much personal interaction.
Treatment: Using artificial tears may lessen the symptoms, but like a cold, it must run its course. Antibiotic drops are ineffective as the causative agent is a virus, not bacteria.
A very uncommon form of conjunctivitis that differs from viral conjunctivitis in that it is caused by any number of possible bacteria. It usually only affects one eye and does not spread to the other eye as it is not very contagious.
Symptoms:Red eye, thick pus-like discharge in copious amounts throughout the day, moderately painful, and vision usually affected.
Treatment: Antibiotic eye drops are the typical therapy, but sometimes oral medications are also required. Without treatment, serious damage can occur.
A fairly common form of conjunctivitis that typically affect both eyes simultaneously. It goes hand in hand with seasonal allergies
Symptoms: Red eye, sticky whitish colored tears, mild to severe itching symptoms may persist for months.
Treatment: Prescription allergy eye drops can be used to lessen the irritation. Many allergens, like laundry detergent, pets, make-up, soap, pillows, etc., can be changed or removed from the situation to help alleviate the problems.