Medical & Surgical Ophthalmology



What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis encompasses all inflammations of the conjunctival mucosa, the transparent membrane that lines the front of the eye and the inner area of the eyelids.

It is normally self-limited (heals itself) and does not cause sequelae, but it can become complicated if it is not treated properly.

How is conjunctivitis manifested?

Conjunctivitis usually produces symptoms such as a sensation of grit or of foreign body, itching or stinging. It is important to know that uncomplicated conjunctivitis does not cause pain or alter vision. In addition, the appearance of purulent discharge indicates bacterial conjunctivitis, and leads the patient to search for medical help. Frequently rubbing the eyes, it is also common for them to wake up with glued eyelids because of secretion. When conjunctivitis becomes complicated, symptoms appear such as pain when opening and closing the eyes, intense swelling of the eyelids, and photophobia.

Why does conjunctivitis occur?

The types of conjunctivitis are divided into two large groups according to their cause:

Those produced by an infectious agent (mainly bacteria or viruses). They represent 30% of all conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis that is not secondary to an infection. They are further divided into:

Conjunctivitis treatments

Conjunctivitis is treated depending on the cause that produces it. For this, there are several types of topical drugs (in drops) focused on treating the origin of conjunctivitis, such as antibiotics for bacterial ones, antihistamines for allergic ones. And, generally, the vast majority improve with the use of topical anti-inflammatories (corticosteroids or nsaids).

Conjunctivitis prevention

For infectious conjunctivitis it is advisable to prevent the spread of the infection to another person, avoiding direct contact and taking care with sheets, towels, eyeliners and other elements that are shared in daily life. It is important to know that viral conjunctivitis is extremely contagious and that it usually is contagious before the onset of symptoms, so extreme caution should be taken if this is suspected, since anyone in contact with the sick patient may have been infected.

In the case of allergic conjunctivitis, it is best to avoid exposure to the allergenic agent. In the event that it still appears, eye drops can be used to prevent the allergic reaction. When that is not enough, it is advisable to consult your allergist and ophthalmologist.



At all ages.


Sensation of grit or foreign body, stinging or itching.


When suffering from the symptoms described, go to the ophthalmologist to determine the cause of the conjunctivitis.


Avoid exposure to the allergenic agent in the case of allergic conjunctivitis and avoid direct contact with infected patients in infectious cases.

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