Conjunctivitis is a generic term for any inflammation of the conjunctiva (the fine saran wrap-like covering of the front of the eye and inside of the eyelids).
Types of Conjunctivitis:
Allergic (Vernal) Conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis can be characterized by a tearing, very itchy eye. The lids can be swollen due to rubbing or dabbing the eyes.
Also know as “Pink Eye”, this conjunctivitis has the symptoms of red, sandy, scratchy, irritated, teary eyes. The eyes often appear glassy. This is caused by a virus and is very contagious. Frequent hand-washing and no sharing of towels, pillows, or bed linens is the best way to control the spread of this virus. Most times, patients will develop this in one eye followed by the other eye in about 6 to 10 days. This is commonly seen in people who have/are around children, and often times is passed around at schools and daycare.
This is a rarely seen bacterial infection of the conjunctiva. It is characterized by a meaty, red eye with a mucopurulent (puss) discharge. The lids can be matted shut in the morning with a discharge throughout the day.
Allergic Conjunctivitis is commonly treated with anti-inflammatory/anti-allergy drops. Also, detection and removal of the allergen in the environment will keep this from recurring.
Viral conjunctivitis is treated with palliative measures. Cool compresses, artificial tears, and sometimes prescription anti-inflammatory drops are used to make the patient feel better while the virus runs the course. Just like the common cold, the body has to defeat the virus, but we can make you feel better during its course.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is treated with topical antibiotic drops. Occasionally, oral medications or an injection may be necessary to clear the infection.