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Conjunctivitis: Introduction

Conjunctivitis is a common condition in which a part of the eye called the conjunctiva is inflamed. The conjunctiva is a thin, transparent membrane that lines and protects the whites of the eyes and the eyelids.

Conjunctivitis can be caused by a bacterial infection, viral infection, or allergic reaction of the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis is a very common condition.

When conjunctivitis is caused by an infection, it is a very contagious condition, called infectious conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis is the most common form of infectious conjunctivitis. However, bacterial conjunctivitis is a more serious condition.

Another form of infectious conjunctivitis is called neonatal ophthalmia. Neonatal ophthalmia occurs during the vaginal delivery of an infant to a mother who is infected with certain sexually transmitted diseases. These include genital herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. During delivery, these diseases can infect the conjunctiva of the newborn. If left untreated neonatal ophthalmia can result in blindness in the infant.

Conjunctivitis is commonly called pinkeye because of the hallmark symptom of red or pink eyes. To learn more about other important symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of conjunctivitis.

Infectious conjunctivitis can be spread from one person to another through contact with any object, such as a finger or towel, that has touched the eye area of a person with infectious conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis can occur to any person in any age group, but is very common among young children, especially those in day care settings.

Diagnosing conjunctivitis begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination that includes an eye examination.

An eye examination includes testing pupil response to light, visual acuity or sharpness of vision, checking the sharpness of peripheral vision, and testing the pressure inside the eye. The outer eye is examined using an instrument called a slit lamp, and the inner eye is examined using an instrument call an ophthalmoscope. Another test involves temporarily staining the eye with a special eye drop that makes a corneal abrasion, which can mimic conjunctivitis, visible to the clinician.

A culture and sensitivity test may be performed on discharge from the affected eye. This involves taking a sample of the discharge, growing it in a laboratory, and examining it to determine the type of microorganism that is causing an infectious conjunctivitis.

A diagnosis of conjunctivitis may be missed or delayed because symptoms can be similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions. To learn more about diseases and conditions that can mimic conjunctivitis, refer to misdiagnosis of conjunctivitis.

Treatment for conjunctivitis varies depending on the specific type of conjunctivitis. Treatment may include medications and prevention of the spread of the condition. For more details on treatment plans, refer to treatment of conjunctivitis. ...more »

Conjunctivitis: This term describes a group of diseases that cause swelling, itching, burning, and redness of the conjunctiva, the protective membrane ... more about Conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis: Contagious eye infection. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Conjunctivitis is available below.

Conjunctivitis: Symptoms

Symptoms of conjunctivitis include reddened or a pinkish appearance of the eyes, especially the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a thin, transparent membrane that lines and protects the whites of the eyes and the eyelids.

The affected eye or eyes can also feel gritty, and there is generally a discharge that builds up overnight to form a crust. Bacterial conjunctivitis tends to ...more symptoms »

Conjunctivitis: Treatments

The first step in treating conjunctivitis is prevention. Prevention measures include avoiding touching the eyes, which can transmit an infectious virus or bacteria from the hands into the eyes. It is also key to wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 15 seconds, especially after having contact with anyone with conjunctivitis or any object that may be ...more treatments »

Conjunctivitis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of conjunctivitis may be delayed or missed because symptoms of conjunctivitis can be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions, such as watering eye, subconjunctival hemorrhage, scleritis, uveitis, choroiditis, dry eye, blepharitis, and corneal ulcer. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

Treatments for Conjunctivitis

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Conjunctivitis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis: Related Patient Stories

Conjunctivitis: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Conjunctivitis.

Alternative Treatments for Conjunctivitis

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Conjunctivitis may include:

Types of Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Conjunctivitis:

Causes of Conjunctivitis

More information about causes of Conjunctivitis:

Disease Topics Related To Conjunctivitis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Conjunctivitis:

Conjunctivitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Conjunctivitis

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Conjunctivitis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Conjunctivitis

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Conjunctivitis:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Conjunctivitis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Latest Treatments for Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis: Animations

Research about Conjunctivitis

Visit our research pages for current research about Conjunctivitis treatments.

Clinical Trials for Conjunctivitis

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Conjunctivitis include:

Statistics for Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis: Broader Related Topics

Conjunctivitis Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Conjunctivitis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Conjunctivitis

Facts About the Cornea and Corneal Disease: NEI (Excerpt)

This term describes a group of diseases that cause swelling, itching, burning, and redness of the conjunctiva, the protective membrane that lines the eyelids and covers exposed areas of the sclera, or white of the eye. Conjunctivitis can spread from one person to another and affects millions of Americans at any given time. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, allergy, environmental irritants, a contact lens product, eyedrops, or eye ointments. (Source: excerpt from Facts About the Cornea and Corneal Disease: NEI)

Aging and Your Eyes -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

Conjunctivitis happens when the tissue that lines the eyelids and covers the cornea becomes inflamed. It can cause itching, burning, tearing, or a feeling of something in the eye. Conjunctivitis can be caused by infection or allergies. (Source: excerpt from Aging and Your Eyes -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

Definitions of Conjunctivitis:

Conjunctivitis; inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye. - (Source - Diseases Database)

Inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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