What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation within the conjunctiva of the eye. The conjunctiva is a membrane that contains blood vessels and that lines the sclera (the white of the eye) and the inside surface of the eye lids. When it is inflamed the blood vessels get engorged and the eye has a “pink eye” appearance. The inflammation can be a viral conjunctivitis, a bacterial conjunctivitis or an allergic conjunctivitis. Sometimes it is due to a small foreign body such as dust or metal etc.

Among viral illnesses measles, pink eye, herpes and shingles are common causes of an acute conjunctivitis. Bacterial infections such as the STD’s (gonorrhea or chlamydia) are also common.

What are the signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis?

The signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis vary a lot depending on the underlying cause. Viral conjunctivitis – causes pink eye and bacterial conjunctivitis – causes pussy (yellow or green) eye discharge

How is diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests of conjunctivitis depend on the clinical presentation and the history.

How is conjunctivitis treated?

Treatment is directed against the underlying cause. Depending on whether the conjunctivitis is acute or chronic and what the underlying cause of it is, the treatment will vary considerably.

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