It is also called “Pink eye” an inflammation of the membrane covering the eye (the conjunctiva). Acute conjunctivitis frequently occurs with viral respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold or influenza and may be highly contagious. More severe attacks are usually caused by bacterial infections. Conjunctivitis that is not associated with respiratory disorders may be caused by irritants such as dust, cosmetics, smoke or by an allergic reaction to a specific substance, such as pollen or penicillin. Conjunctivitis may also result from the eye disorder trachoma and from a number of other rare afflictions or conditions. Suspected conjunctivitis should always be evaluated promptly by a health professional.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
The eye tends to water profusely and the white of the eye is bloodshot or pink. The eye is painful when moved and may be oversensitive to bright light. Sometimes, there is a discharge of pus from the eyelids.
Diagnosis of Conjunctivitis
Doctors diagnose conjunctivitis based on the symptoms and by looking at the eye under a microscope. Depending on these findings, the cause can usually be determined. For instance, a colored discharge from the eye usually indicates a bacterial infection. But, when itching and tearing are the main symptoms, allergies are the most likely cause. With viral conjunctivitis there is usually no discharge, but there may be redness and tearing along with formation of follicles under the eyelids.