If you’ve ever had conjunctivitis, you’ll know how uncomfortable it can be. Conjunctivitis normally makes your eyes feel itchy and swollen, and is also known as “pink eye” for making your eyes look red. In this guide, we’ll outline everything you need to know about this common eye condition and how to treat it.
What Is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva, which is the transparent membrane covering the eye. It causes eyes to become red, sore, and inflamed.
While conjunctivitis is usually just inconvenient and clears up on its own within a week or two, it can cause blocked tear ducts if it’s left untreated. Most people try basic over-the-counter treatments first, such as eye drops.
There are other circumstances and conditions that cause red eyes, so it’s worth checking first to make sure you’re not confusing something like an ingrowing eyelash for simply dry eyes for conjunctivitis.
What Can Cause Conjunctivitis?
A Foreign Object In The Eye
From chemical splashes to a flying foreign object, getting something in your eye can trigger conjunctivitis. For people working in factories, laboratories and even in hospitality, it’s surprisingly easy to come into contact with chemicals – especially without the right type of PPE.
Viruses And Bacteria
Most cases of pink-eye are caused by a virus called adenovirus, but they can also be caused by varicella-zoster virus, herpes simplex virus, and even the virus that causes Covid-19. Sometimes, you might experience conjunctivitis alongside the common cold or flu.
Common allergies, including hayfever and pet allergies, often cause the soft tissue surrounding the eyes to become inflamed. Along with making your eyes appear puffy, this type of allergic reaction can also cause inflammation of the conjunctiva and white part of the eyeball.
What If Conjunctivitis Doesn’t Clear Up On Its Own?
If you’re still suffering with conjunctivitis after a couple of weeks or after trying several different home remedies, we know you’ll be feeling frustrated. According to the professional opinion of eye health experts Lenstore, you should still be able to find relief:
“Conjunctivitis… usually clears up after a week or two. If it doesn’t, or if it’s particularly uncomfortable, speak to your optometrist, as they’ll be able to provide treatment to alleviate the issue – but they can also give you a check-up to make sure it’s not actually an indication of something else.”