Conjunctivitis

We know of several reasons for the onset of conjunctivitis or conjunctiva inflammation. Among the most common are bacterial infections, viral infections and allergies.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

A red eye with purulent discharge is typical of bacterial conjunctivitis. Patients frequently have the feeling of there being a foreign object in the eye but vision is not usually impaired. Bacterial conjunctivitis can usually successfully be treated with antibiotic eye drops.

Viral conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is most often a consequence of infection by adenoviruses. These frequently develop after a common cold and the infection can spread with contact. A redness of the eyes and watery discharge is typical and either one or both eyes may be affected. In some cases, the body's immune response can cause associated opacifications called subepithelial infiltrates to occur in the cornea and these can cause eyesight to worsen. These changes in the cornea normally disappear after several months. Viral conjunctivitis is usually treated with symptomatic therapy, which should alleviate symptoms in three weeks.

Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is primarily characterized by itching but redness and increased lacrimation can also occur. Other signs of allergic reactions are also usually present, such as a runny nose and dry cough. Vision is rarely impaired as a result of this infection. Treatment is symptomatic and is often long-term or chronic. Vasoconstrictors, antihistamines and periodically, also steroids, are used for treatment.

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