Conjunctivitis is a common inflammatory disease of the eye. It is usually not dangerous and when properly treated, it quickly disappears. The conjunctiva is a layer of tissue that is located at the base of the eyelid and passes to the sclera (the white part of the eye). It protects the eye from damage and penetration of infectious microorganisms.
The conjunctivitis is commonly infectious – viral or bacterial. Viral conjunctivitis may accompany viral upper respiratory tract infection; bacterial conjunctivitis is typically caused by staphylococci and streptococci. Chlamydia is another microorganism that frequently affects the conjunctiva. Some authors regard the chlamydia microorganisms among bacteria, but they are rather group of intracellular parasites. Conjunctival irritation with inflammation can also cause due to many non-infectious contaminants and chemical substances when they get into direct contact with the eye. Finally, let’s not forget conjunctivitis in allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases, such as in the Reiter’s syndrome.
The inflammation can affect one or both eyes. The main symptoms are redness, pain and tearing of the affected eye. Bacterial infections cause purulent discharge.
The correct diagnosis can be done virtually by any doctor at first sight. In case that the situation does not quickly improve, it is advisable to perform ophthalmologic examination.
The therapy depends on the underlying cause. Allergic conjunctivitis is treated with anti-allergic drugs, bacterial infection with local antibiotics. The majority of mild cases of conjunctivitis improve within few days without any substantial treatment.