Conjunctivitis (commonly called 'pink-eye') occurs through inflammation of the thin transparent layer that lines the inner eyelids and white parts of the eye. This commonly occurs in children but can affect adults. Most cases of conjunctivitis will heal without intervention, but treatment from your optometrist can speed up the recovery and decrease the chance of permanent damage in severe cases. There are three different types of conjunctivitis: infectious, allergic and toxic conjunctivitis.

Infectious conjunctivitis

This condition can also be caused by a virus in which symptoms include a red eye, a watery and clear discharge and a feeling that there is foreign matter in the eye. In this case, steroid drops may be prescribed by an optometrist to tone down the immune-reaction that causes the redness and discomfort.

To control the spread of infectious conjunctivitis it is important to keep your hands away from your eyes, wash your hands before applying eye medication, and refrain from sharing towels, face washers, cosmetics, pillows or eye drops with others.

Toxic conjunctivitis

If you have some form of allergic or toxic conjunctivitis, it is important to consult your optometrist. If the cause of the problem is identified, you can then try to avoid it.

Allergic conjunctivitis

To manage allergic conjunctivitis, you should focus on prevention or avoidance of the allergens that trigger your symptoms.

Tips to reduce your exposure to allergens that cause allergic conjunctivitis:
  • Stay indoors when the wind is blowing pollen
  • Wear spectacles or sunglasses outdoors
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes
  • Reduce dust mite exposure in your home
  • Wash hands straight after patting animals