Here you can discover the most important eye diseases and we will help you to recognise their symptoms and tell you how each condition is treated.
What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. Since this area is supplied by many blood vessels, their inflammation causes swelling and redness of the white of the eye. It is usually a benign condition, but without proper treatment it can lead to complications. There are 4 types of conjunctivitis, depending on its origin: viral conjunctivitis, bacterial conjunctivitis, allergic conjunctivitis and conjunctivitis caused by contact with irritants (e.g. pool chlorine). Some of these types can be very contagious and are easily spread from person to person.
The symptoms can vary, but they generally include:
- Redness or inflammation of the white of the eye or inside of the eyelid
- Itching, irritation, stinging or pain in the eyes
- Gritty or foreign body sensation
- Eye discharge may be clear, yellowish, whitish or greenish
- Discharge on the eyelids or eyelashes
- Increased tearing
- Discomfort or movement of contact lenses
- Sensitivity to light
The treatment of conjunctivitis varies according to the cause:
- If it is caused by a viral infection, there is no cure or specific treatment and the inflammation will decrease as our immune system combats the virus.
- Symptomatic treatments recommended by our ophthalmologist may be used to relieve the symptoms and prevent possible complications.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops and it tends to disappear in about a week.
- Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with antihistamines and it also usually goes away on its own when exposure to the allergen disappears or decreases.
- Conjunctivitis caused by exposure to irritants can be treated by rinsing the eye thoroughly to remove the product that caused the reaction. This treatment may be combined with anti-inflammatory drugs or eye drops and ointments.