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Warman, SK / (306) 242-4433

Conjunctivitis (Red Eye)

Conjunctivitis: Types and Treatments

What is Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis, also commonly called red eye or pink eye, is a common eye infection that can affect adults and children alike. Though there are several different types of conjunctivitis, all of which have their own causes and symptoms, they all stem from an inflammation of the conjunctiva.
The conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that covers your sclera, the white portion of your eye. While some types of conjunctivitis will subside on their own others require medical care. Knowing the different types of conjunctivitis is important because it will help you determine whether or not you require medical help.
If you have any questions about conjunctivitis, or any other eye health issues, please feel free to contact us by phone or email. If you require medical attention for your conjunctivitis please call and request an appointment as soon as possible.

Get an Official Diagnosis

Though this document provides a basic overview of conjunctivitis and describes typical symptoms, these symptoms are not exclusive to this condition. You may in fact have another form of eye infection, which could lead to scarring and vision loss. Each strain of infection is different, so it is important to see a professional to make sure you get the right diagnosis.

If you think you may be experiencing conjunctivitis request an appointment with us today. You can also call us (both during and after regular office hours) and ask about booking an emergency appointment.

Types of Conjunctivitis

There are several types of conjunctivitis: The four most common are allergic conjunctivitis, bacterial conjunctivitis, irritant conjunctivitis and viral conjunctivitis.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergies are our body overreacting and going into defense mode. They occur when our bodies encounter something relatively harmless (like pet dander, dust or pollen) and misidentify them as something harmful. When this happens the body produces histamine, which then triggers the various symptoms we associate with allergies.

Allergic conjunctivitis can be irritating but is treatable.

Symptoms

Allergic conjunctivitis typically affects both eyes simultaneously and causes them to water, itch, swell and become red or inflamed. Many patients also experience a sensitivity to light and find their eyes produce a stringy white discharge. The skin around your eyes may also swell, becoming puffy and sensitive to touch. Allergic conjunctivitis may occur in conjunction with other allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion or hives.

Treatment

Allergic reactions of any type are best treated with antihistamines or other allergy medications. You can also avoid triggering an allergic reaction altogether by removing the allergen from your environment or avoiding going places where the allergen is present. The symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis can also be managed with medicated eye drops, which can be prescribed by one of the optometrists at Warman Eye Care.

As the name suggests bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria. Though our bodies are constantly exposed to a large variety of bacteria being exposed to a new or aggressive bacteria can lead to infection.
Bacterial conjunctivitis occurs when you transfer bacteria to your eye. The bacteria can be picked up almost anywhere, from doorknobs to pools.

Bacterial conjunctivitis can also be triggered by particularly aggressive sinus infections.

Symptoms

When your eye becomes infected with bacteria it will typically become pink, swollen and sore to the touch. Your eye may also burn or itch and tear up excessively. You may also experience foreign body sensation, where it feels like there is something in your eye even when there is not. Bacterial conjunctivitis usually causes a thick sticky discharge that is typically yellow or green in colour. This discharge can a be so viscous (thick) that it may seal your eyes shut during sleep.

Treatment

Bacterial conjunctivitis, like other bacterial infections, needs to be treated with antibiotics. Make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible so that you can start on your medication. Bacterial conjunctivitis is incredibly contagious, so after you receive your medication you will need to avoid busy and crowded areas such as work or school so you don’t spread the infection to others.

To prevent reinfection wash all of your bedding and throw away any objects that have come in contact with your infected eye (such as contact lenses or cosmetics).

Many of the illnesses we encounter every day are caused by viruses. While some are quite harmless, such as the common cold, others, like some strains of influenza, can be deadly. Viruses are also the cause of viral conjunctivitis, which is extremely contagious.

Symptoms

While viral conjunctivitis typically starts in one eye its contagious nature means it will likely spread to the second eye soon. Symptoms include redness, itching, blurry vision, excessive tears, sensitivity to light and discharge.

Treatment

Unfortunately, like most viruses, you will just have to let viral conjunctivitis run its course. The best course of treatment is rest, allowing your body time to fight off the infection.

However, some strains of the virus can attack your cornea, increasing the likelihood of serious damage and requiring urgent care. Make sure you get an official diagnosis from your eye doctor, just to be safe. While you are recovering you can avoid spreading the virus by staying clear of public spaces and avoiding work and school.

To prevent reinfection wash all of your bedding and throw away any objects that have come in contact with your infected eye (such as contact lenses or cosmetics).

Irritant conjunctivitis can occur when an irritant such as dust, soap, bleach or smoke enters the eye.

Symptoms

When you get something in your eye your eye may increase tear production to try and flush the object out. Your eyes will likely sting or burn, and the white of your eye and inner eyelid may become red.

Treatment

Conjunctivitis caused by irritants is fairly easy to treat. Use cool, clean water to flush the substance out of your eye, making sure to flush the eye for at least five minutes. Your symptoms should lessen, and your eye should begin to improve within four hours. However, if your conjunctivitis is caused by an alkaline or acidic substance such as bleach you should immediately rinse your eye with lots of water and seek immediate medical help.

Visit Our Office

Warman Eyecare is worth the visit! Stop in to say hi, and to meet our staff. We’re down the street from the high school on Klassen Street and 6th Avenue, directly behind the Tim Hortons.

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Address

Warman Eyecare
100 6th Avenue South,
Warman, SK, S0K 4S0

Contact Number

Phone: (306) 242-4433
After Hours: (306) 371-9911
Email: [email protected]

Hours of Operation

Monday:8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday:NOON - 8:00 PM
Wednesday:8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday:NOON - 8:00 PM
Friday:8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday:Closed, but we’d be happy to see you at Stonebridge Eyecare!
Sundays:Closed
Holidays:Closed