Eye Diseases

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

It is a condition that occurs when the conjunctiva is irritated by an infection or allergy, causing redness or inflammation of the eye and sometimes accompanied by a sticky secretion, which can be in one or both eyes, and some types are highly contagious (easily transmitted from person to person).

Types of conjunctivitis:

  • Viral conjunctivitis: It is the most common type of conjunctivitis. It is highly contagious and often spreads in schools and crowded places. It usually causes red eyes and a burning sensation with a watery secretion. It is often caused by the same virus that causes runny nose and sore throat in people with the common cold.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis: It is considered highly contagious, as it causes redness and pain in the eye with a lot of sticky pus, however, some bacterial infections may cause little or no secretions, and sometimes the same bacteria that cause sore throat are also considered more common in children than adults.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis: caused by an allergic reaction to pollen, animals, cigarette smoke, chlorine in swimming pools, or car fumes. It is not contagious, and causes severe itching, redness, and tears. It may cause swelling in the eyelid. It occurs frequently among people with other allergic conditions. (e.g.: hay fever, asthma, eczema)

Inflammation can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or allergy. Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis infections spread easily from person to person. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. Other causes can include:

  • Chemicals
  • Wearing contact lenses longer than recommended or not cleaning them properly.
  • Foreign bodies in the eye (e.g.: eyelashes)
  • Indoor and outdoor air pollution (such as: smoke, dust, or chemical fumes).
  • fungus
  • Amoebas and parasites

It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of conjunctivitis because some of the symptoms may be the same regardless of the cause.

Ways of transmission of infectious types of conjunctivitis:

  • Direct contact with eye fluids of an infected person.
  • Touching any unclean surface that has germs, then touching the eyes without washing hands.
  • Not cleaning contact lenses properly or using them incorrectly.
  • Children, who come into close contact with many others at school, do not practice good hygiene.
  • Spread of infection from bacteria that live in the nose and sinuses.


  • Sensation of having an object in the eye.
  • Redness and burning sensation in the eye.
  • Eye pain and itching.
  • Too much eye tears.
  • Eyelid swelling.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Extreme sensitivity to light.
  • Scaly eyelids or eyelashes, especially in the morning.
  • Pus or thick yellow secretion from the eye.

When to see a doctor:

  • If symptoms persist for a week or more, or get worse.
  • Pain or vision problems
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive pus or mucus secretion from the eye
  • High body temperature.
  • Pink eye is a common cause of truancy and can spread rapidly in schools. Make sure your children know how to prevent pink eye and other diseases.

Treatment usually depends on the type of conjunctivitis:

  • If conjunctivitis is caused by a viral infection, there are no specific treatments as the body fights the virus on its own, and placing a cold, wet washcloth on the eye can help make you feel more comfortable.
  • If it is caused by a bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic drops depending on how severe the symptoms are.
  • If it is caused by an allergy, the first step is to remove or avoid the irritant. In severe cases, the patient may be advised to use some eye drops. To help reduce swelling and itching.
  • Sometimes it can happen due to a chemical substance, in this case the eye must be washed with saline solution first to remove the remaining traces of the chemical substance and certain eye drops or ointment may be prescribed.


  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, and if soap and warm water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Wash hands after touching an infected person or touching tools used by them.
  • Avoid touching eyes with unclean hands.
  • Do not share items used by someone (such as: pillows, towels, eye drops, eye or face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, contact lens storage cases, or eyeglasses).
  • Vaccines can prevent some types of infections associated with conjunctivitis, but there is no vaccine that prevents all types of conjunctivitis. Vaccines include prevention of some viral and bacterial diseases associated with conjunctivitis: German measles, measles, chickenpox, pneumococci and others.

Instructions for people with conjunctivitis:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after cleaning or applying eye drops or ointment to the affected eye.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing the eye, as this can aggravate the condition or spread it to the other eye.
  • Wash any secretions around the eye several times a day using a clean, wet towel or cotton, dispose it after use, wash used towels with hot water, then wash hands again with soap and warm water.
  • Do not use the same bottle of eye drops for the affected and uninfected eyes.
  • Wash pillow covers, sheets, and towels often with hot water and detergent.
  • Stop wearing contact lenses until the doctor allows you to wear them again.
  • Clean, store and replace contact lenses as instructed by the doctor.
  • Dispose and replace any eye or face makeup or makeup brushes that were used during the infection.
  • Disposal of contact lenses and their solutions used during an injury.
  • Clean glasses and be careful not to contaminate items (e.g. hand towels) that may be shared with other people.
  • Do not share personal items (such as: pillows, towels, eye drops, eye or face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, contact lens storage cases, or eyeglasses).
  • Avoid swimming in swimming pools.

Last Update : 03 September 2023 12:14 PM
Reading times :