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Commonly known as pinkeye, Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the thin clear lining (conjunctiva) that covers the white part of the eye as well as the inside of the eyelid.


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Conjunctivitis can originate from both infective and non-infective culprits, such as:

  • Viruses, bacteria and fungi
  • Irritants such as shampoos, dirt, smoke, and pool chlorine
  • Allergies or allergens such as dust, pollutants and contact lenses

Conjunctivitis, caused by viruses and bacteria, is contagious .


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Signs and symptoms may vary, depending on the cause, but could include:

  •  Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
  • An increased amount of tears
  • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep
  • Green or white discharge from the eye
  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light


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  • Most often in accordance with the signs, symptoms and history
  • Clinical examination with an ophthalmoscope
  • In some cases, a swab will be taken with cotton swab to sample fluid from the eyelid to be analysed in a lab, especially if the cause is likely a bacterial or viral infection




  • Avoid contact with individuals who has pinkeye
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially when you have a cold or flu
  • Change your contact lenses frequently as prescribed by your provider
  • Chemicals must not come into contact with the eyes. Should a chemical make contact with the eye, immediately rinse the eye with water
  • Women should not share make-up
  • Use a clean towel and facecloth daily – no sharing
  • Change your pillowcase often
  • When swimming, wear swim goggles



The treatment of pinkeye depends on the cause.  The most common causes can be managed in the following ways:

  • Viral: Mostly symptomatic with a cold compress or warm compress several times per day
  • Bacterial: Typically managed with antibacterial eye drops or ointments
  • Pinkeye due to an allergy or allergens: An anti-inflammatory or antihistamine may be helpful in combination with rinsing of the eyes with cold water.
  • Change from contract lenses to wearing glasses until the condition has cleared up completely
  • The ideal remedy would be one that simultaneously treats all these distressing ailments, with the following therapeutic properties:
    • anti-inflammatory
    • antibacterial,
    • antiviral
    • antifungal
    • safe to be applied directly onto the eyes, in both adults and children


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Conjunctivitis is usually not a serious health risk if diagnosed promptly. It lasts between 4 to 7 days. However, Pinkeye in new-born babies should be reported to a doctor immediately, as it could be a vision-threatening infection. If you develop blurred vision with pinkeye, see your eye doctor immediately.

Family Practice, Volume 19, Issue 6, 1 December 2002, Pages 658–660, Hazel Everitt and Paul Little, How do GPs diagnose and manage acute infective conjunctivitis? A GP survey 2013 Oct 23; 310(16): 1721–1729, Amir A. Azari and Neal P. Barney, Conjunctivitis: A Systematic Review of Diagnosis and Treatment Nursing2013: July 2013 – Volume 43 – Issue 7 – p 39, Durning, Marijke Vroomen RN, Conjunctivitis Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, Melinda Gooderham, Julian McDonald, Kim Papp, Diagnosis and Management of Conjunctivitis for the Dermatologist 2013; 309(20):2176. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4432, Denise M. Goodman, MD, MS; Jennifer Rogers, MS; Edward H. Livingston, MD, Conjunctivitis: A Systematic Review of Diagnosis and Treatment

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