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An inflammation of the conjunctiva

Sex or Age most Affected

Both sexes and all ages, but more common in children.

Signs & Symptons

The following symptoms may affect one or both eyes:

  • Clear, green or yellow discharge from the eye.
  • Crusts on lashes that cause eyelids to stick together, especially on waking.
  • Eye pain.
  • Swollen eyelids.
  • Sensitivity to bright light.
  • Redness and gritty feeling in the eye.
  • Intense itching (allergic conjunctivitis only).


  • Viral infection (commonest). Conjunctivitis may accompany colds or childhood diseases such as measles.
  • Bacterial infection.
  • Chemical irritation or wind, dust, smoke and other types of air pollution.
  • Allergies caused by cosmetics, pollen or other allergens.

Risk Increases With

Epidemics of viral conjunctivitis especially in summers


  • Those afflicted should wear sun glasses
  • Newborns in hospital deliveries are routinely given antibiotic eye drops.

Diagnostic Measures

  • Typical symptoms.
  • Examination by a doctor.

Possible Complications

If untreated, the infection may spread and damage the other parts.

Probable Outcomes

  • Allergic conjunctivitis can be cured if the allergen is removed. It is likely to recur.
  • Other forms are curable in 8-10 days with treatment.


General Measures

  • Wash hands often with antiseptic soap, and use paper tissue to dry. Don’t touch eyes. Gently wipe the discharge from the eye using disposable tissues.
  • Infections are frequently spread by contaminated fingers, towels, or handkerchiefs that have touched the infected eye.
  • Use warm-water soaks to reduce discomfort.


  • Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops, steroid eye drops or antibiotic ointment to fight infection. Use 3-4 times daily.
  • Never buy from chemists directly, it can harm your child’s eyes.
  • If the infection does not improve in 2 or 3 days, it may be caused by an insensitive bacteria, virus or allergy. At this point, an ophthalmologist may need to culture the conjunctivae or make special studies to determine the cause of the conjunctivitis.
  • Most ophthalmologists believe steroid eyedrops should not be used until a diagnosis is definite. If the infection is caused by herpes simplex virus, steroids may spread it from the conjunctiva to the cornea, damaging the eye.

Contact your Doctor

  • You notice symptoms of conjunctivitis in child.
  • The infection does not improve in 48 hours, despite treatment.
  • Fever occurs.
  • Pain increases.
  • Vision is affected.