Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the outer most clear layer of the eye and also lines the underside of the eyelid. Some common symptoms of conjunctivitis are redness of the white of the eye, excessive watering, thick yellow or green discharge from the eyes, itchy eyes, burning eyes, blurred vision, swollen lids, increased sensitivity to light, and contact lens intolerance. Conjunctivitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria, irritants, and allergies. It can also spread easily from one person to another.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is an infection. Some of the causes are bacteria within your own body, physical contact with other people, poor hygiene, and contaminated makeup. It is usually treated by eye drops, ointment, or pills.
Viral conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by contagious viruses like that of the common cold. It can be highly contagious. If you have viral conjunctivitis, be sure to avoid contact with others, do not share your pillow, towel or washcloth with others, throw out all eye makeup, and wash your hands frequently. Antibiotics do not cure this type of conjunctivitis. Like the common cold, the virus has to run its course, usually within a week. Occasionally, a steroid eye drop may be able to relieve some of the discomfort from inflammation.
Allergic conjunctivitis is commonly associated with seasonal allergies. This should improve once the allergy is treated and the allergen that triggered the reaction is removed. There are many eye drops that can help to relieve the discomfort from allergic conjunctivitis. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis is an allergic conjunctivitis usually caused by contact lens wear. You may need to discontinue contact lens wear while the condition is active. If you experience discomfort when wearing your contact lenses, your eye doctor can determine if this is the cause. Your optometrist may need to treat the inflammation and can recommend changes to your routine that may prevent a reocurrence.
Chemical conjunctivitis can be caused by irritants in your environment. An example is being splashed in the eyes with a noxious chemical. If this occurs, you should rinse your eyes out thoroughly with saline water or water for at least 5 minutes and call your doctor immediately.