Conjunctivitis and eye pain:
This is the medical term for a group of conditions that cause swelling, redness, and inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a thin transparent tissue that covers the white part of the eye.
Conjunctivitis typically causes the whites of the eyes to become swollen and red or pink. Hence, many people refer to conjunctivitis as pink eye.
Viruses, bacteria, and allergens are a common cause of conjunctivitis. It can also develop in response to irritants, such as:
- air pollution
- a foreign object in the eye
- contact lenses and their associated solutions
Other possible symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
- itching, irritation, or burning
- feeling as if there is a foreign body in the eyes
- feeling the urge to rub the eyes
- swollen eyelids
- increased tear production
- discharge from the eyes
- crusting of eyelids or eyelashes, particularly in the morning
- feeling discomfort when wearing contact lenses or feeling that they do not stay in place
The treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the cause:
- Viral conjunctivitis (VC): Most cases of VC are mild and clear up within one to two weeks, without the need for medical treatment. A GP may prescribe antiviral medications for severe viral infections after an assessment by a MECS Optometrist.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis: Mild bacterial conjunctivitis often improves in a few days without treatment. However, an Optometrist may prescribe topical antibiotics for more severe bacterial infections.
- Allergic conjunctivitis: The treatment involves identifying and avoiding the allergen that triggers the condition. Other treatment options include topical antihistamines and lubricating or rinsing eye drops without preservatives.