What is it?
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the eyes and eyelids. Viral conjunctivitis is the most common of the three types of conjunctivitis. The others are bacterial and allergic. Allergic conjunctivitis is generally seasonal, caused by allergens and, while symptomatically similar to the other forms, is treated differently.
The symptoms of conjunctivitis include pain, itching of the eyes, tears, swelling and reddening of the eyelids (hence the name pink-eye), sensitivity to light, watery discharge in the viral form and stringy, thicker discharge in t
Adenoviruses are the most common causes of the viral form of conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis is generally caused by the bacteria Haemophilus, Streptococcus, or Staphylococcus. The disease is usually spread through contact with the discharge from the infected eye. This can occur by using the same towel that the infected individual used, sharing make-up applicators or eyedroppers. The infection can be transmitted as long as there is infection in the eye.
Mild cases of both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are self-limiting. For severe bacterial cases of infection an antibiotic ointment is often prescribed. There is no anti-viral treatment for the viral infection. Often the treatment is for symptomatic relief and includes the use of cool compresses and artificial tears, which can be obtained over-the-counter.
It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above because they may be indications of more serious eye disease. An ophthalmologist is best trained to diagnose and treat your symptoms.