Conjunctivitis

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Overview

The conjunctiva is thin transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surfaces of the eyelids. 

If it become inflamed it is called conjunctivitis. The inflammation can be due to an infection, irritant or allergic reaction.

Symptoms

  • Reddening of the eye(s)
  • Watering eye(s)
  • Soreness
  • Sticky eye(s)

When to seek urgent medical advice

  • Moderate to Severe eye pain
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Loss of Vision
  • Intense redness in your eye(s)

Causes

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)

It is difficult for the GP to tell the difference between a bacterial and viral infection as both infections will normally get better without any treatment. 

Conjunctivitis caused by STD's will usually last for several months. You will need to have an eye swab.

Do I need antibiotics?

No, as it should clear up within 1-2 weeks.

What treatment should I take?

  • Remove contact lenses until all the symptoms have cleared
  • Clean away the stickiness from your eye lashes with cotton wool and water
  • Wash your hand regularly to limit spread of infection
  • Lubricant eye drop may help to ease the soreness of the eye(s)

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