Conjunctivitis literally means inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the lining underneath the lid and around the edge of the eye. Conjunctivitis can be infective or non-infective, and out of the infective ones, it can be viral or bacterial.
Conjunctivitis produces a red eye and a change in the tear film often to make it sticky or thick, and usually affects the quality of the vision and makes the eye uncomfortable.
Bad conjunctivitis can be very disabling and mild conjunctivitis just annoying.
Children get conjunctivitis in the epidemic proportions, but most of the causes there are viral and are often not viruses that cause conjunctivitis in adults.
There are forms of conjunctivitis that are particularly nasty and affect the front surface of the eye, called keratoconjunctivitis, and these are quite infective.
A relatively common cause of conjunctivitis is Herpes virus (HSV 1 – like the cold sore) and can affect the conjunctiva and sometimes the lid margin, particularly in the first infection.
Conjunctivitis is often treated with Chlorsig drops, but Chlorsig drops are of limited value and often it is better for us to identify the underlying cause and apply other more effective antibiotic or more specific treatment to the underlying cause.
Sometimes conjunctivitis does not have a clear cause and we will apply supportive treatment and sometimes some anti-inflammatories.