Conjunctivitis is a benign self limited condition. It is due to inflammation of the conjunctiva. It may be due to various causes, with the most common being, viral, bacterial and allergic


Symptoms include redness of the eye, crusting and discharge from the eye.

If you wear contact lens you should stop and seek medical attention as this can mean a more complicated infection.

There is no change in vision


The diagnosis of conjunctivitis is based on the history and physical of the patient.

In Bacterial conjunctivitis there is yellow eye discharge, and very little or no eye itching.

In Viral conjunctivitis there may be other symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and upper respiratory tract infection. There may also be watery eye discharge with strands of mucus, and eye itching, burning/gritty feeling.

In Allergic conjunctivitis there may be runny nose, sneezing, and wheezing. Primarily there is eye itching, gritty feeling and burning eyes. There may also be watery eye discharge


One of the goals of treatment is to prevent transmission

For bacterial conjunctivitis treatment is not always required, but if needed it is antibiotics, there should be a minimum of 24 hours of antibiotics and no drainage prior to return to work or school.

For most viral conjunctivitis the treatment is aimed at symptomatic relief, such as cool compress and artificial tears.

Herpes conjunctivitis usually involves treatment with antivirals.

Allergic conjunctivitis treatment includes, cool compress, artificial tears, topicals, avoidance of allergens.

Contact lens wearers may require different treatments and should stop wearing contacts until cleared by a physician.


If due to infectious causes, hand washing is very important for prevention.