What is Conjunctivitis? (kuhn-juhngk-tuh-vahy-tis)

Conjunctivitis is the medical term for infection or inflammation of the thin, transparent layer that lines the inside of the eyelids and the white portion of the eye. “Pink eye” is another common term used to refer to conjunctivitis.

What are the Symptoms of Conjunctivitis?

  • Conjunctivitis may occur in one or both eyes
  • Gritty feeling in eyes
  • Itching/Burning sensation
  • Excessive tearing
  • Discharge and swollen eyelids
  • Pink color in the whites of the eyes

How Common is Conjunctivitis?

  • Conjunctivitis is especially common in children
  • The best way to prevent most conjunctivitis is to practice good hygiene in ways such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your eyes with your hands

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

  • Conjunctivitis can be caused by either bacterial or viral infections
  • It can also be caused by an allergic reaction to sources such as smoke, cosmetics or chlorine
  • Conjunctivitis can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases

How is Conjunctivitis Diagnosed?

  • Diagnosing conjunctivitis begins with a comprehensive eye exam at Shanks Family Eye Care
  • During this exam, your doctor uses tests to focus on the conjunctiva and surrounding tissues to verify the presence of a conjunctivitis

How is Conjunctivitis Treated?

  • There are three main goals in the treatment of a conjunctivitis:
    • Increase your comfort level
    • Reduce the course of the infection/inflammation
    • Prevent spread of infection
  • It is important for individuals who wear contact lenses to discontinue using their lenses during the course of the conjunctivitis to prevent recurrence

Conjunctivitis Resources

Kids Health: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/eye/conjunctivitis.html