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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Conjunctivitis is an inflammatory condition affecting the conjunctiva which is a thin, transparent membrane covering the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. It is more commonly known as pink eye. Here is some information to help you better understand and manage conjunctivitis. 

Types and causes:

  • Viral conjunctivitis: caused by a viral infection. This is highly contagious.

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis: caused by a bacterial infection. This can be contagious. It is commonly associated with eye discharge.

  • Allergic conjunctivitis: caused by an allergic reaction. This is not contagious and can be a reaction to substances like pollen, pet dander, or dust mites.

  • Irritant conjunctivitis: caused by irritants such as chemicals, smoke, or foreign objects. This is not contagious.


  • Eye redness. 

  • Excessive tearing or watering.

  • Discharge of the eye (can be clear and watery or thick and yellow-ish).

  • A gritty or foreign body sensation and irritation of the eye/eyes.

  • Itching or burning.


  • Viral conjunctivitis: Prescription eye drops may be given to help control symptoms, but usually this type of conjunctivitis needs to run its course.

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis: Antibiotic eye drops or ointments may be prescribed.

  • Allergic conjunctivitis: Over-the-counter or prescribed antihistamine eye drops can help alleviate itching. Avoid allergens and use a cold compress for relief.

  • Irritant conjunctivitis: Rinse your eyes with clean water or sterile saline immediately after exposure. Avoid further exposure to the irritant. Use lubricating eye drops for relief. 

Prevention and hygiene 

Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching/rubbing your eyes, and refrain from sharing personal items such as towels or eye makeup. If the conjunctivitis is contagious, it is important to avoid close contact with others, especially in shared spaces such as schools and workplaces, until the symptoms improve or as advised by an eye care professional. Avoid wearing contact lenses until the symptoms have resolved and you are cleared to do so by your eye doctor. 

Remember, while most cases of conjunctivitis resolve without complications, it is essential to practice good hygiene, follow appropriate self-care measures, and seek medical advice when needed. Early intervention and proper management can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the spread of conjunctivitis.


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