The vast majority of conjunctivitis cases are short-lived, and always temporary. However, the illness can be extremely irritating, necessitating time off work or isolation in severe cases.
Red eye can present as part of a bacterial or viral infection, in which case it will be highly contagious for up to several weeks. Conversely, an allergic reaction can trigger the condition, in which case you will be perfectly harmless to those who do not suffer from those same allergies.
Do not self-diagnose conjunctivitis. Treatments and management advice vary on a case-by-case basis, and it’s impossible to diagnose your type of red eye without an expert eye exam and assessment.
Your doctor will perform an extensive assessment of your conjunctiva and the surrounding area to both confirm the diagnosis and the severity of your condition. If there is any unusual discharge from the eye, they may submit this to further testing. In general, your condition can be classified into one of the three types.
Highly contagious and spread from hand-to-eye contact, it is prolific in schools and amongst children in general. Like any bacterial illness, consistent and thorough hand washing can help limit the spread of bacterial conjunctivitis, while also keeping kids slightly safer from contraction.
Slightly less common (but equally contagious), this form of red eye piggybacks onto many of the airborne pathogens responsible for spreading common cold or flu viruses.
Triggered by some external allergen, this is non-contagious but tends to present with the same persistent symptoms as the viral or bacterial strains. Those who suffer from seasonal allergies are generally more at risk of develop allergic conjunctivitis.
If you develop rapid and sudden inflammation, itchiness or redness around either eye, give us a call and arrange an emergency eye appointment so we can assess the damage without delay.
However, in the majority of cases, symptoms start slow and rarely reach a severe stage. The most common sign of conjunctivitis is the reddened, inflamed conjunctiva, the network of skin cells surrounding the eyeball. Others include:
The good news is that conjunctivitis is a temporary illness which should have no long term affect on your ocular health or vision. However, it can occur more than once. The staple treatment plan is to let the disease run its course – symptoms may last for up to a few weeks, but they will abate and leave your vision clear and irritant-free.
You may benefit from a warm compress or some tear-inducing eye drops, to keep the affected area hydrated. For severe bacterial cases, we may prescribe antibiotic eye drops, but this will all be discussed at length following your specific assessment and diagnosis.
We are conveniently located at the corner of Peachtree Parkway and South Clement Rd, at the entrance to Creekstone Estates, in the Villages at CreekStone (near the intersection of HWY 141 and Old Alpharetta Rd).