Conjunctivitis is a common but preventable eye condition, often called ‘red eye’ or ‘pink eye’ due to the bloodshot appearance of the white parts of the eye (the sclera) which is symptomatic of the disease.
The bloodshot appearance of the eye is caused by an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the clear outer layer of the eye). This inflammation causes the blood vessels in the conjunctiva to dilate, resulting in a pink or red appearance to whites of the eye or eyes.
Conjunctivitis can be caused by a virus, bacteria or by allergies. Each cause has different symptoms and treatments.
Treatment of conjunctivitis will vary depending on its cause. It may be unclear to a patient which type of conjunctivitis they have (particularly if the patient suffers from other eye conditions with similar symptoms). This makes self-diagnosis risky due to the potential impacts to vision arising from some causes of conjunctivitis. Red eyes that are wrongly diagnosed and treated can cause more damage than conjunctivitis itself!
For this reason, we recommend patients that develop symptoms of conjunctivitis book an appointment with our optometrist in the Hills District for an eye exam.
Although a common condition due to its contagious nature, patients can take simple steps to reduce their risk of contracting conjunctivitis, including: