Conjunctivitis is an infection of the surface of the eye. It can be due to allergy, a bacterial or viral infection. It can also develop following the lodging of a foreign object in the eye e.g. an eyelash, piece of grit etc. Symptoms include soreness, often described as gritty or burning, redness of the white of the eye, itching, watering or discharge and slight sensitivity to light.

Treatment will depend on the cause of the conjunctivitis. Your Doctor will be able to establish this. Antibiotic drops or ointment is the most commonly prescribed therapy following diagnosis of infective conjunctivitis, if the cause is bacterial. Allergic conjunctivitis will simply require you to stay away from whatever is causing the reaction. If the cause is animal fur or cosmetics this may be easy, but if it is pollen you will need to follow the advice under the section entitled Hay fever. Viral conjunctivitis will clear up on its own.

What you can do to help:

  • • If you normally wear contact lenses, don’t wear them until the conjunctivitis clears
    • Avoid touching or rubbing the eyes, as this could spread the infection
    • Don’t let any towel or face cloth you use come into contact with the other eye
    • Don’t share pillows, towels or utensils with anyone