Conjunctivitis is a condition many of us have experienced at some time in our lives.
The tissue that covers the front of the eye is called the conjunctiva, and conjunctivitis is inflammation of this thin tissue layer. Conjunctivitis causes redness of the eye, itchiness and sometimes a sticky discharge. In almost all cases it will affect both eyes.
There are two types of conjunctivitis; infective and allergic.
Symptoms of infective conjunctivitis
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis also causes itchy eyes but its onset can be triggered by seasonal events such as hay fever. If it is hay fever then you will also have other symptoms, like sneezing and a runny nose. Dust mites or animal allergies will normally causes symptoms in both eyes.
An irritant on the conjunctiva like an eyelash, toiletries or chlorinated water. Some people develop an allergy to eye drops. This is known as contact dermatoconjunctivitis and it can also affect your eyelids, causing them to become dry and sore.
While rare, some people are allergic to contact lenses and this can cause a condition called giant papillary conjunctivitis. This is potentially serious and carries a risk of complications. It’s recommended you seek advice as soon as possible.
Should I seek medical help?
If you suspect your infection is causes by contact lenses you should seek medical help or visit your optician as soon as possible. Most cases of conjunctivitis will clear up quickly. But if you are worried your optician can check whether there’s a more serious underlying cause of your symptoms.
Pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision or redness could also be an indicator of something more serious. You should contact your optician immediately if you experience any of these symptoms, or visit Accident and Emergency if you cannot access your optician.
Doing nothing may be sufficient as conjunctivitis will often clear up naturally within a few weeks. If you do need treatment, it will depend on the type of infection and what the underlying cause is. In severe cases, antibiotic eye drops can be used to clear the infection.
If you are concerned that you have any symptoms associated with AMD, you can arrange a consultation at Laser Vision Scotland.