Conjunctivitis: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Conjunctivitis?

  • Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eyeball. The small blood vessels in the conjunctiva gets inflamed and become visible. This causes the eyes to appear reddish or pink.
  • Conjunctivitis, often called “pink eye,” is a common eye disease, especially in children. It may affect one or both eyes. 
  • Some forms of conjunctivitis go away on their own, but others require treatment. It is usually a minor eye infection.
Conjunctivitis overview image

Recovery Time

With proper treatment, the symptoms disappear within a week. However, in some cases, the symptoms may last for up to three weeks, with a minority of people not getting better even after two to three weeks of treatment.
Those who have weak immune system or those who wear contact lenses or people with only one eye functioning need to take extra care while recovering from pink eye.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis- Within 24 hours, it may start to get better, when the allergen (harmful substance) is removed
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis- begins to improve within 2 to 3 days
  • Viral conjunctivitis- lasts for one or two days and it does not require any particular medical treatment.


 Conjunctivitis is generally diagnosed by
  • Physical examination of the eye for the symptoms
  • Visual acuity measurements
  • Evaluation of the conjunctiva and external eye tissue
  • Evaluation of the inner structures of the eye
  • Swab of conjunctiva for analysis

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is the infection or inflammation of the conjunctival layer of the eye which covers the sclera(white part of eye) and the inner part of the eyelid.  It is usually caused by bacteria. It causes watering of the eyes, discharge, blurring of vision and Photosensitivity.

Q2.  How do I get Conjunctivitis?
You can get Conjunctivitis if pathogenic bacteria come in contact with the conjunctiva. There is a high possibility that you contract it from a person having conjunctivitis.  People with bacterial conjunctivitis are advised to wear glasses to prevent spread.

Q3.  What is the treatment for Conjunctivitis?
Treatment depends on the cause. Bacterial conjunctivitis is treated with antibiotic drops. Allergic conjunctivitis is treated with anti-allergic drops.

Q4.  How long does it take to cure?
It takes about 3-5days of treatment to cure conjunctivitis.  You are advised to wash your eyes regularly with warm water and use Dark glasses to prevent photosensitivity.  Avoid using contact lenses.

Q5.  How do I prevent Conjunctivitis?
You can prevent conjunctivitis by maintaining proper hygiene and rubbing the eyes with infected hand. Avoid close contact with a person with conjunctivitis.

Q6.  What are the complications of Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis usually resolves without any complications.

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