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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Conjunctivitis

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Common Name/Other Name: Pink Eye, Madras Eyes

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (thin clear tissue over the white part of the eye and lines insides the eyelid) caused by bacterial/viral infections or allergic reactions. The types of conjunctivitis are:

  • Viral conjunctivitis Most associated with pink eye; red, itchy, watery eyes and is highly contagious
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis Pink eye with yellow green or yellow discharge around the eyelids; contagious by direct contact (by hand contact or items that have touched the infected eye).
  • Allergic conjunctivitis Similar with viral conjunctivitis but accompanied by nasal congestion, sneezing, swelling eyelids and sensitivity to light. This type of conjunctivitis is not contagious, but affects both eyes.
Symptoms
  • Redness in the white part of the eyes or inner eyelids (hyperaemia)
  • Itchy, burning, swelling eyes (chemosis)
  • Blurred vision
  • Thick, yellow green or yellow discharge around the eyelids
  • Watery eyes (epiphora)
  • Sensitivity to light
Risk Factors
  • Bacteria such as gonorrhea and chlamydia
  • Viruses
  • Allergants (dusts, pollen) and irritants (dirt, smoke)
  • Exposure to chemicals such as those found in shampoo and chlorinated or pool water
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Topical and ophthalmic antibiotics (e.g. chloramphenicol, fusidic acid) have antibacterial-producing properties that are effective against gram (+) and (-) bacteria. Available in ointments, creams, eye drops and solutions. Precaution: Glaucoma (optic nerve damage), dry eyes, eye injury, recent eye surgery or laser therapy. Side effects: Hypersensitivity, stinging/burning sensation, rash, fever, vision disturbance. Drug interactions: Anticoagulants, phenytoin, phenobarbital, other antibiotics, chemotherapy or immunosuppressant drugs.

  • Saline solutions (sodium chloride) and topical steroids are used in emergency situations for severe pink eyes caused by chemicals that can cause severe eye burns which may lead to intraocular damage and/or blindness. It is commonly used as a base component in ophthalmic solutions. Side effects: Increase risk of intra-ocular pressure, glaucoma, cataract, and retinopathy.

  • Artificial tears and ophthalmic decongestants (tetrahydrolozine HCl, naphazoline HCl, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose) help lubricate dry eyes and relieve redness, irritation and discomfort. Precaution: Should not be used for contact lenses as there are eye drops especially for contact lenses. Eye drops for red eyes can make eyes drier.
Treatment and Management
  • Use a clean, cold wet washcloth to the eyes to help relieve discomfort. Be sure not to share the same cloth to anyone as conjunctivitis is contagious.
  • Discontinue wearing contact lenses when the condition is still present. Never share your contact lenses to anyone.
  • Wash eyes when contacted with irritants like dirt.
  • Wash hands frequently. Do not rub eyes after coughing, sneezing or touching something dirty.
  • Wear eye protection such as goggles when swimming, diving under water or performing chemical experiments to avoid eye irritation due to chemicals.
Home Remedies
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