Signs and Symptoms
Reddening of the whites of the eyes is common to all types of conjunctivitis. Other signs include:
When it is bacterial conjunctivitis
1. Discharge of pus from the eye or crusting of the eyelashes in the morning.
When it is viral conjunctivitis
1. Watery discharge, often from one eye only, occasionally with crusting.
2. Sore throat and runny nose, with some viruses.
When it is allergic conjunctivitis
1. Swelling of the tissues around eye.
2. Itching eyes.
3. Burning and watery eyes.
4. Runny nose, sneezing.
When conjunctivitis caused by environmental irritants
1. A sensation of having something in the eye.
2. Burning and watery eyes.
What to Do Now
Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis:
To soothe infected eyes, apply a clean, warm, damp cloth. Wash the used cloths in hot water with detergent to stop the infection from spreading.
2. If you suspect your child has infectious conjunctivitis, keep him or her at home so it doesn’t spread. The teachers and other parents will be thankful about your decision.
Conjunctivitis caused by environmental irritants:
1. To soothe irritated eyes, use artificial teardrops, available over the medicine stores.
1. Apply a cold, damp washcloth to the eyes to relieve itching.
2. Try allergy eye drops or pills to reduce redness and itching. Be aware that the pills can cause drowsiness.
When to Call A Doctor
1. Call for an immediate appointment:
If your newborn’s eyes redden and produce a discharge; this condition must be treated quickly to prevent permanent eye damage.
2. If you injure your eye; injuries can become infected and lead to corneal ulcers.
3. If conjunctivitis affects your vision or produces severe pain or excessive discharge; this may mean an infection.
4. If your conjunctivitis appears to be getting worse after a week of home care; your may have a bacterial or viral infection.
5. If you get conjunctivitis frequently.
6. If you have symptoms of conjunctivitis that don’t seem to be due to an infection, a cold, or allergies.
7. Several eye diseases can also cause redness and tearing.
8. If you notice blurred vision, light sensitivity, and redness in the eye; these many be signs of advanced glaucoma.
How to Prevent It
1. Don’t share eye makeup or eye drops.
2. Don’t share handkerchiefs, towels, or washcloths.
3. If you have conjunctivitis, don’t touch your eye and then touch someone; the ailment can be spread to others.
4. Wash your hands frequently if you have conjunctivitis, or if you live with someone who has it.
5. If you have allergies, try to avoid common allergens like pollen, dust, mold, or pets with hair or fur.
6. Wear goggles if you eyes are sensitive to environmental irritants or to chemicals or fumes on the job.