It can also accompany a cold, flu or other upper respiratory infection. If your conjunctivitis is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen, dust mites or similar (seasonal and perennial allergic conjunctivitis), it's very rare to experience any serious complications. It's very important to go back to your GP if you still have symptoms after two weeks. FDA on Conjunctivitis classification. Eye allergies can lead to a common, non-contagious reaction called allergic conjunctivitis. [33] Antibiotics are also recommended for those who wear contact lenses, are immunocompromised, have disease which is thought to be due to chlamydia or gonorrhea, have a fair bit of pain, or have copious discharge. A more comprehensive differential diagnosis for the red or painful eye includes:[27], The most effective prevention is good hygiene, especially avoiding rubbing the eyes with infected hands. [1] Pain, burning, scratchiness, or itchiness may occur. The chemicals in the things we’re exposed to can sometimes cause a unique type of conjunctivitis. For the duration of this module, I will use the term membranous conjunctivitis to signify conjunctivitis associated with any type of membrane. [35] Rates of disease is related to the underlying cause which varies by the age as well as the time of year. The pattern of symptoms for allergic conjunctivitis depends on the substance you're allergic to. Viral conjunctivitis usually starts in one eye (unilateral) before eventually infecting both (bilateral). Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most common among all the types of conjunctivitis. Giant papillary conjunctivitis or GPC has symptoms of intolerance to contact lenses, heavy discharge, bumps beneath the eyelids, and itchy eyes. This can be painful and make your eyes sensitive to light (photophobia). In adults, conjunctivitis caused by ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid (OMMP), graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), gonococcus, and chlamydia are important to detect early because it is necessary to treat the concomitant systemic disorder. This is known as contact dermatoconjunctivitis and it can also affect your eyelids, causing them to become dry and sore. I really like the info provided by you about conjunctivitis. SEE RELATED: How to prevent the spread of pink eye. With modern treatment, it can often be avoided by administering medicine immediately after birth. There are three main types of conjunctivitis: There are also numerous, less-common forms of conjunctivitis, including: Many types of conjunctivitis share symptoms with other types of pink eye. This is usually regarded as a medical emergency and you'll need to be admitted to hospital so your eyes can be washed out with saline solution. Both eyes are usually affected and you may find the symptoms worse in the morning. Allergic conjunctivitis (AC) is usually associated to allergic rhinitis (AR), but the severity and control of ocular symptoms should be assessed independently to improve diagnosis and treatment. Another common condition, bacterial conjunctivitis, is caused by bacteria and is also highly contagious. Sometimes, newborn babies’ eyes become irritated due to inflammation or blocked tear ducts. SEE RELATED: How do I get rid of pink eye? If bacterial conjunctivitis is suspected, but no response to topical antibiotics is seen, swabs for bacterial culture should be taken and tested. [13] The most common cause of infectious conjunctivitis is viral conjunctivitis. If your symptoms are severe or don't respond to treatment, you may need to see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist). [28], Povidone-iodine eye solution has been found to prevent neonatal conjunctivitis. This type of pink eye most commonly affects people who wear soft contact lenses. Signs of such conditions include decreased vision, significantly increased sensitivity to light, inability to keep the eye open, a pupil that does not respond to light, or a severe headache with nausea. If you have any of these symptoms, it's very important to seek medical assistance immediately, either by contacting your GP or going to your nearest hospital. It can be triggered by allergens like pollen, animal dander and dust mites. These were first identified in an outbreak in Ghana in 1969, and have spread worldwide since then, causing several epidemics.[16]. [27] Fluctuating blurring is common, due to tearing and mucoid discharge. Five categories are recognized: (1) papillary, (2) giant papillary, (3) follicular, (4) membranous/pseudomembranous, and (5) cicatrizing. Some people develop an allergy to eye drops. [6] The specific allergens may differ among patients. CDC on Conjunctivitis classification. As the conjunctiva becomes thickened by infiltration with inflammatory cells, the individual papillae are created by septae that are fibrous connections of the epithelium to the underlying substantia propria. When investigated as a treatment, povidone-iodine ophthalmic solution has also been observed to have some effectiveness against bacterial and chlamydial conjunctivitis, with a possible role suggested in locations where topical antibiotics are unavailable or costly.[34]. The choice of antibiotic varies based on the strain or suspected strain of bacteria causing the infection. If you develop giant papillary conjunctivitis as a result of recent eye surgery, you'll be immediately referred to an ophthalmologist. This type of allergic conjunctivitis can affect your daily life and could make it difficult for you to concentrate at work or school, particularly if your eyes are severely irritated. Antibiotic eye drops aren’t effective against the viruses that cause viral conjunctivitis, but other drugs may be used to ease symptoms. [11] Mild burns produce conjunctivitis, while more severe burns may cause the cornea to turn white. Your feedback has been submitted successfully. The condition can be seasonal or year-round, depending on your individual allergies. In contrast to papillae, where the core blood vessel creates a red dot at the apex of the elevation, follicles have a clear center. The prescription of antibiotics is not necessary in most cases. Bacterial conjunctivitis causes the rapid onset of conjunctival redness, swelling of the eyelid, and a sticky discharge. Speak to your GP for advice. Keratitis is where your cornea (the front of your eye) becomes swollen. Eye drops can briefly cause blurred vision. Grossly purulent exudates are seen in hyperacute conjunctivitis. For allergic conjunctivitis, cool water poured over the face with the head inclined downward constricts capillaries, and artificial tears sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases. [15] Cases of meningococcal conjunctivitis can also be treated with systemic penicillin, as long as the strain is sensitive to penicillin. If you have allergic conjunctivitis, you can follow the guidelines below to treat your condition at home. Giant papillary conjunctivitis is caused by: Giant papillary conjunctivitis is estimated to affect around 1-5% of people who use soft contact lenses and 1% of people who use hard contact lenses. Your GP may suggest further tests, such as a swab test, if your conjunctivitis hasn't responded to treatment, or to help decide what treatment to use. Although conjunctival scrapes for cytology can be useful in detecting chlamydial and fungal infections, allergy, and dysplasia, they are rarely done because of the cost and the general dearth of laboratory staff experienced in handling ocular specimens. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, some antihistamine eye drops may not be suitable. Most cases of conjunctivitis clear up within one to two weeks without needing any medical treatment. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Chat to an NHS operator in our Live Chat - opens a new window, a bacterial or viral infection – this is known as infective conjunctivitis, an allergic reaction to a substance such as pollen or dust mites – this is known as allergic conjunctivitis, the eye coming into contact with things that can irritate the conjunctiva, such as shampoo or chlorinated water, or a loose eyelash rubbing against the eye – this is known as irritant conjunctivitis, a severe case of allergic conjunctivitis can lead to scarring in the eye, in cases of infective conjunctivitis, the infection can spread to other areas of the body, triggering more serious secondary infections, such as, eye redness – as a result of the inflammation and widening of the tiny blood vessels in the conjunctiva (the thin layer of cells covering the front of the eyes), a discharge – the conjunctiva contains thousands of cells that produce mucus and tiny glands that produce tears – inflammation causes the glands to become overactive, so that they produce more water and mucus, a sticky coating on the eyelashes – usually when you first wake up in the morning, an enlarged lymph node (gland) in front of the ear, grass pollen, released during the end of spring and beginning of summer, weed pollen, released any time from early spring to late autumn, an allergic reaction (allergic conjunctivitis), something irritating the conjunctiva, such as a loose eyelash (irritant conjunctivitis), bacteria – for example, the strains of bacteria that often cause lung and ear infections, a virus – most commonly an adenovirus that may also cause a, you're old or young – it's more common in children and the elderly, possibly because children come into contact with more infections at school, and elderly people may have a weaker immune system, you've recently had an upper respiratory tract infection – such as a, you have blepharitis (inflammation of the rims of the eyelids) – which can be caused by a bacterial infection and may lead to conjunctivitis, you've been in a crowded place – such as a busy train, a prostheses (artificial) part of the eye that's fitted during eye surgery, a stray eyelash rubbing against the conjunctiva, acute glaucoma – a rare form of glaucoma that causes a painful build-up of pressure in your eye, keratitis – where the cornea (the clear layer at the front of your eye) becomes swollen and develops open sores.