What is it?
A swelling of the delicate tissue on the outer white part of the eye. Since this tissue has blood vessels, most people have redness, a watery or sticky discharge, burning or grittiness - and sometimes itching.
How does it happen?
A few of the common causes are:
- Viral - The most common type. This is what some people call pink eye. It is highly contagious.
- Bacterial - This usually causes more crusting or stickiness and a white or yellow soupy discharge.
- Allergic - A lot of itching is characteristic of this type. It may happen only during certain seasons. The discharge is usually watery or filled with mucus.
How is it treated?
It depends on the cause. A virus needs to run its course like the common cold. Antibiotics do not usually help viral conjunctivitis, but do help bacterial problems. In both viral and bacterial cases - good hygiene (separate towel - no hand to eye contact) is essential. In allergic types, blood vessel constrictors and other antihistamine drops are used to stop the itching. One of our doctors may also suggest anti-inflammatory drops in cases of severe swelling.