Conjunctivitis is a prevalent eye condition that causes reddening and redness of the thin sheet of tissue covering the anterior region of the eye or conjunctiva. The other indications include watery eyes and itchiness as well as the formation of a tacky layer on the eyelashes.
The condition can develop in one eye initially but usually affects both eyes after a few hours.
Possible causes of conjunctivitis
The conjunctiva can become inflamed due to the following:
- Infective – triggered by viral or bacterial infection
- Allergic – allergic reaction to substances such as dust mites or pollen
- Irritant – exposure of the eyes to substances that irritate the eye tissue such as shampoo or chlorinated water as well as a loose eyelash rubbing on the eye
The treatment for conjunctivitis is not typically required since the symptoms often settle within a couple of weeks. In case treatment is required, the treatment depends on the exact reason.
- In severe instances, eye drops that contain antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor to clear up the infection.
- The irritant type eventually clears up once the cause is removed.
- The allergic type is usually managed using antihistamines. If possible, the trigger substances must be avoided.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses until the symptoms settle.
- Any sticky or crusted coating on the lashes or eyelids can be cleaned using water and cotton wool.
- Wash hands regularly and avoid sharing towels or pillows to prevent the condition from spreading.
What are the possible complications?
It is important to note that conjunctivitis can be an annoying condition, particularly the allergic type. On the other hand, most cases do not pose as a dangerous threat to the health.
The complications of conjunctivitis are considered uncommon but if they do develop, there is a tendency that they can be detrimental such as the following:
- Severe form of the allergic type that can result to the scarring in the eye
- In the infective type, the infection might affect other parts of the body that can trigger serious secondary infections such as meningitis.