Conjunctivitis, also known as red eye syndrome, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin, usually transparent tissue that sits above the eyeball but covers only the white of the eye without the cornea and the inside of the eyelids.

This tissue plays a critical role in protecting our eyes by serving as a barrier between the outside world and the internal structures of the eye.

When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, it can cause a variety of symptoms, including redness, itching and eye discomfort.

Inflammation of the conjunctiva can be caused by many factors. Some of the most common causes include viral and bacterial infections, allergies, chemical irritants, and even overuse of contact lenses.

Depending on the cause, conjunctivitis can be mild or serious, and may require different methods of treatment.

Conjunctivitis – what causes it

For the appearance of conjunctivitis there can be a variety of reasons such as:

  • Viruses;
  • Bacteria (such as gonorrhea or chlamydia);
  • Irritants such as shampoos , make-up, dirt, smoke or the chlorine used to disinfect water in public pools;
  • Allergic reactions from dust, pollen or from an allergic reaction caused by wearing contact lenses.

Conjunctivitis caused by some bacteria and viruses can be highly contagious and you can very easily become the cause of it in a person, but it does not pose a serious risk for health if diagnosed in time.

But if you notice any of the symptoms of conjunctivitis in a baby, you should immediately notify your doctor, as this infection is very dangerous for the vision of babies and young children.

What are the symptoms

Symptoms of conjunctivitis differ depending on the causes of the inflammation, but in most cases they are:

  • Redness of the white part of the eye;
  • Increased tearing;
  • Thick yellow discharge , which forms a crust over the eyelashes especially after sleep;
  • Greenish or white discharge from the eye;
  • Itching in the eye area ;
  • Burning in the eyes;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Increased sensitivity to light.

If you have any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to consult your eye doctor.

He will examine your eyes and may use a cotton swab to take a sample of the fluid or discharge from the eyelid to be given for testing in a laboratory.

The bacteria or viruses that can cause conjunctivitis, including those that cause the sexually transmitted diseases – gonorrhea and chlamydia, after the examination in the laboratory will be identified and the correct treatment of the eye infection will be prescribed.

How is it treated

Red eye syndrome is treated depending on the cause that caused it to appear.

Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria, including those that are sexually transmitted, is treated with antibiotics in the form of eye drops, ointments or tablets.

Eye drops or ointments sometimes need to be applied to the inside of the eyelid 3 or 4 times a day for 5 to 7 days.

You may also need to take the antibiotics in tablet form for a few days. The infection should subside in about 1 week.

Continue to take the antibiotics and apply ointments or drops as directed by your eye doctor, even if symptoms have subsided.

Viral conjunctivitis, for example, is usually mild and often resolves on its own without treatment. It can be caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold. Bacterial conjunctivitis, on the other hand, can be more serious and usually requires treatment with antibiotics.

Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the eyes react to allergens such as dust, mold or pollen. This leads to inflammation of the conjunctiva and symptoms such as redness, itching and tearing. Treatment usually involves avoiding the allergen and using anti-allergy medications.

Therefore, avoid close contact with other people and wash your hands often. With conjunctivitis it is contraindicated to wear contact lenses and until the infection subsides you should wear glasses, the same applies to make-up.

When red eye syndrome is caused by some irritant, then you should try to wash away the irritant with water by running water over your eyes for 5 minutes.

The condition of your eyes should start to improve after a few hours.

If the eye infection is caused by acid or alkaline substances such as bleach, immediately flush your eyes with plenty of water and call your doctor immediately.

Conjunctivitis associated with an allergic reaction should resolve when the allergen is removed, but it is advisable to consult your doctor if your red eye syndrome is caused by an allergic reaction.

Proper hygiene and consultation with a doctor

In conclusion, conjunctivitis is a common inflammatory disease of the conjunctiva that can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral and bacterial infections, allergies, irritants, and excessive use of contact lenses.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis vary, but include eye redness, itching, increased tearing, and discharge from the eye.

Diagnosis and treatment of conjunctivitis requires consultation with an eye doctor who can perform an examination and take a sample for laboratory tests.

Treatment depends on the cause of the inflammation and may include antibiotics, anti-allergy drugs or avoidance of irritants, which should be in accordance with the prescriptions of your GP or specialist.

Although most cases of conjunctivitis are self-limiting and do not pose a serious health threat, it is important to consult a doctor when symptoms occur, especially in infants and young children, to prevent possible vision damage.


Regular hand hygiene and avoiding contact with infected persons are important measures to prevent the spread of conjunctivitis.

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