Last updated date: 20-Aug-2023

Originally Written in English


Conjunctivitis, also known as the pink eye, refers to the infection or the inflammation of the translucent membrane (conjunctiva). This is the lining of the eyelid that encloses the white area of the eyeball. 

Tiny vessels within the conjunctiva get more noticeable as they get irritated. As a result, the whites of the eyes look pink or reddish. An allergic reaction, viral or bacterial infection, or partially opened tear ducts in children are the most common causes of conjunctivitis.

Although conjunctivitis might be irritating, it seldom causes vision problems. Fortunately, it can be relieved with various treatments. Because conjunctivitis is contagious, it is best to diagnose and treat it as early as possible.


Types of Conjunctivitis 

These are the common types of conjunctivitis in both children and adults: 

Irritant or allergic conjunctivitis: This occurs when an allergen or irritant comes in touch with the eye, causing inflammation and irritation. They include pollen, chlorine, among others. 

Infective conjunctivitis: This is caused by bacteria or a virus.

Acute or chronic conjunctivitis: The symptoms of acute conjunctivitis normally last one to two weeks. However, they can sometimes linger for up to three to four weeks. On the other hand, chronic conjunctivitis can last for up to four weeks. 


Signs and Symptoms of Conjunctivitis 

Because bacterial or viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious, it is crucial to watch out for your symptoms. It could take up to two weeks for the disease to spread to others. Therefore, if you have any of the following conjunctivitis symptoms, consult your eye doctor right away:

  • Eyes with a pink or reddish tone
  • A gritty sensation in the eyes
  • Itching in the eyes
  • You may notice a watery or heavy discharge on your eyes during the night
  • An unusual amount of tears


Causes of Conjunctivitis 

The following are the most common causes of conjunctivitis:

Virus or bacteria causes: Bacterial conjunctivitis can occur from the bacteria that triggers strep throat and staph infections. On the other hand, virus-induced conjunctivitis is typically caused by one of the viruses causing the common cold. Conjunctivitis, whether caused by a virus or bacteria, is very contagious. It is easily passed from one person to another through hand contact. 

Allergies: Pollen and other allergens can lead to conjunctivitis in one or both eyes. These allergens trigger the body to produce more histamine, causing inflammation in response to what it perceives as an infection. As a result, allergic conjunctivitis develops. Allergic conjunctivitis is usually characterized by itchiness. 

Chemicals: If a chemical or any foreign component splashes into the eyes, you must be cautious. Conjunctivitis can be caused by chemicals common in backyard swimming pools, such as chlorine. In such cases, rinsing the eyes with water is an easy and efficient approach to preventing the chemical irritant from resulting in conjunctivitis. 


Conjunctivitis Diagnosis 

It is not difficult for the eye doctor to identify conjunctivitis. By inquiring about your condition and checking your eyes, he or she will know if you have the eye condition. 

They may, for instance, inquire as to if you experience eyes itchiness or if you have a thick or watery discharge. They may also ask whether you have symptoms of hay fever, common cold, or asthma. Your doctor may sometimes remove a small tear or fluid sample from the conjunctiva and take it to the laboratory for testing. 


Conjunctivitis Treatment Options 

Conjunctivitis Treatment Options

The conjunctivitis treatment can vary depending on the underlying cause. If a chemical irritant causes the condition, it will most likely resolve on its own within a few days. There are a few treatment choices if caused by a bacterium, virus, or an allergen. They include; 

Bacterial conjunctivitis treatment:

If a bacterium is the source of your conjunctivitis, then your doctor will most certainly prescribe eye drops, pills, or ointments. Applying ointment to the eye may be tricky, though you don't have to worry. However, if the ointment comes close enough to the eyelashes, it would melt and get into the eye. 

Within a week, the infection should have lessened. But even when the symptoms disappear, take the prescription as directed by the practitioner. 

Viral conjunctivitis treatment:

Unluckily, there is no medication available for viral conjunctivitis. There are no remedies for viruses, just as there are no treatments for the common cold. On the other hand, your symptoms will most likely diminish on their own after about 7 to 14 days once the virus has taken its course. 

Meanwhile, a warm compress or cloth dampened using warm water will assist in relieving the conjunctivitis-associated symptoms. 

Allergic conjunctivitis treatment:

When the irritation is due to allergic conjunctivitis, the doctor can recommend one of several forms of allergy eyedrops. Antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers, for example, can help regulate allergic reactions. On the other hand, steroids, decongestants, and anti-inflammatory drops can help manage and ease inflammation. 

You can also use over-the-counter eyedrops containing antihistamines as well as anti-inflammatory drugs. If you are uncertain of the product, you can use, consult your medical provider.  

If possible, avoid whatever triggers your allergies to lessen the intensity of the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.

Chemical conjunctivitis treatment:

If a chemical or substance enters your eyes and causes irritation, gently rinse them with water for about 5 minutes. Also, avoid more exposure to whatever is causing the irritation. They should start improving after 3 to 4 hours of rinsing them. But if they do not, then consult your medical provider right away.  

In case chemicals such as alkaline or strong acid get into your eyes, rinse them with water and immediately contact the doctor. 


Conjunctivitis home remedies

Almost half of the cases of conjunctivitis resolve even without any medical treatment in about ten days. Hence, your doctor may advise you to wait and watch it in most cases. A variety of home remedies might help alleviate the symptoms and hasten recovery. They include; 

  • Taking Ibuprofen to help relieve and manage pain.
  • Avoiding contact lenses when the symptoms are evident. After that, consider replacing your lenses, the lens case, as well as the solution. 
  • Avoid using eye makeup while you are still infected. You should also replace your makeup with new products after you recover. 
  • Use artificial tear eye drops to help reduce irritation and stickiness within the eyes. Over-the-counter (OTC) and online artificial tear eye drops are available.
  • Red-reducing eye drops should be avoided because they may exacerbate the symptoms.
  • Whenever you want to remove a discharge, always use a warm water-soaked washcloth. For both eyes, use different clean towels. 
  • You can use warm compresses to relieve pain. Take a clean, lint-free cloth, soak it in warm water and squeeze it out. Gently apply to the closed eye.


Preventing Conjunctivitis 

One of the most effective strategies for preventing and managing conjunctivitis is to maintain excellent hygiene. Avoid direct contact of the eyes with your hands as much as possible, and always clean your hands thoroughly and frequently. Also, wipe your eyes and face only with clean towels and tissues. 

Avoid sharing your cosmetics with others, mainly eyeliner or mascara. In addition, pillowcases should be washed and changed more often. 

Sometimes, your contact lenses may be the underlying cause of conjunctivitis. In such cases, your doctor may suggest switching to a different form of contact lens or cleaning solution. They can also recommend that you clean or replace the contact lenses often. You may need to stop putting them on altogether or until the eye condition improves in other situations. 

In general, conjunctivitis risk can be reduced by avoiding improperly fitted contact lenses or ornamental contact lenses. 

How can you prevent the spread of conjunctivitis?

In case you or your child already has conjunctivitis of the eye, you could help protect your friends or family members by taking these measures; 

  • Frequent cleaning of the hands
  • Refrain from sharing towels and washcloths
  • Consider replacing your towels and washcloth more often
  • Once the infection has cleared, replace your eye makeup 
  • Stick to your medical provider's contact lens care instructions.

If a child gets conjunctivitis, it's advisable for them to stop going to school for at least 24 hours following the onset of treatment. This is to avoid spreading the infection to others. 


Preventing Conjunctivitis in Newborns 

Preventing Conjunctivitis in Newborns

The eyes of newborns are vulnerable to bacteria found in the birth canal of the mother. In most cases, these bacteria do not cause any symptoms for the mother. However, in rare situations, they can cause ophthalmia neonatorum, a dangerous form of conjunctivitis in infants. This condition requires immediate treatment to save the child’s sight. 

As a result, an antibiotic ointment is also administered to the eyes of every newborn shortly after delivery. This ointment helps protects the eyes from infections. 



Conjunctivitis pink eye is not a serious condition; it can be easily treated and even prevented. It can also recover on its own even without any treatment if it’s less severe. 

Treatment for bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, on the other hand, can help reduce the amount of time you or your child remains contagious and experience the symptoms. To ease discomfort during recovery, apply a cold or warm compress. Also, stick to the appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of the infection to others or a recurrence.