Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B J Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India
First Created: 01/04/2001  Last Updated: 01/04/2001

Patient Education

Conjunctiva is a thin transparent membrane that lines the eyeball and eyelid. Inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva leads to conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis appears as a pink eye with discharge and itching in the eye. The most common cause of conjunctivitis is a

Bacterial conjunctivitis:

It is seen as a pink eye. It affects both the eyes usually and leads to the thick discharge of mucus from both the eyes.

Viral conjunctivitis:

Is a limited condition. It usually affects one eye and causes excessive tearing. The discharge is usually mild.

Allergic conjunctivitis:

It results in excessive tearing from the eyes and itching & redness in the eyes. It may sometimes be associated with a runny nose.

Opthalmia neonatorum:

Is conjunctivitis in the newborn? It requires emergency care and the neonatologist (physician caring for the baby) should be consulted immediately. It has to be treated urgently to prevent permanent eye damage or blindness. It is usually caused when the infant is exposed to the germs in the mother?s birth canal. Gonococcus, C. trachomatis, and herpes virus are common causes.


Treatment consists basically of cleaning the eyes and preventing the condition from spreading. Each eye should be cleaned with clean, wet cotton separately moving the cotton in one direction only (either from left to right or right to left). Non-prescription eye drops are needed for viral conjunctivitis. Antibiotic eye drops are required for bacterial conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis requires steroid eye drops. However, do not use them without consulting your doctor. If your condition does not improve within 3 days, consult your doctor.


To prevent the spread of infection to other people in the household, the following measures are required:

  • Do not touch your hands to the infected eye.

  • Wash your hands frequently.

  • Do not share towels, napkins, and handkerchiefs with others.

  • Wearing glasses may decrease the chance of infection to the people around you. However, it mainly helps you to prevent your hands from touching your eyes and for cosmetic reasons. The child with conjunctivitis will have to be kept away from school for a few days to prevent the spread of infection to other children in school.

Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis 08/01/2015
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