The Eyes Have It: Conjunctivitis
by Rick Alan
The change from summer to fall and winter brings different problems to each of us. For some, the seasonal changes bring the all-too-familiar allergies, colds, and flu. For others it brings conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a thin, transparent layer that covers the inner eyelid and the white part of the eye.
The symptoms of conjunctivitis can run from annoying to painful, and include:
Types of Conjunctivitis
There are 5 types of conjunctivitis:
The best way to treat allergic and chemical conjunctivitis is to remove the allergen or pollutant from your daily environment. You should also:
Preventing Conjunctivitis from Spreading
Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are contagious. If you get either of these types of conjunctivitis, measures should be taken to avoid spreading the condition to your other eye or to other people. These measures include:
When to Seek Treatment
Conjunctivitis will often go away by itself, but if not, it can be cured relatively easily. However certain types of conjunctivitis, if left untreated, can cause permanent damage to your cornea and impair your vision permanently. You should immediately seek treatment if:
American Academy of Ophthalmology
National Eye Institute (NEI)
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Allergic conjunctivitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated June 22, 2016. Accessed August 3, 2017.
Facts about pink eye. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/pinkeye/pink_facts. Updated November 2015. Accessed August 3, 2017.
Infectious conjunctivitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated July 15, 2016. Accessed August 3, 2017.
Neonatal conjunctivitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated December 22, 2015. Accessed August 3, 2017.
Overview of conjunctivitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated September 2016. Accessed August 3, 2017.
Last reviewed August 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 8/3/2017
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.