Also known as “pink eye”, conjunctivitis is a temporary but unpleasant eye condition caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the clear, thin tissue that sits over the white part of the eye and then goes up inside the eyelid.
Conjunctivitis is particularly common in young children. Although it can look unsightly it’s rarely anything serious, but it can be very contagious. As long it’s treated quickly and effectively, and there are no further complications, damage to eyesight is rare. With treatment, the condition usually clears up within a few days.
What causes conjunctivitis and what are the different types?
There are a number of things that can cause conjunctivitis, including:
- Bacteria: This can be transferred to the eye through a lack of hand washing or poor personal hygiene. It can also be the result of irritants such as smoke, pool chlorine and shampoo
- Viruses: These can be the same as the ones which cause the common cold
- Fungi, parasites and amoebas
- Allergic reactions: For example dust or pollen
- A reaction to eye drops or other medical treatments. Older children who wear contact lenses may also be prone to the condition.
Conjunctivitis and STDs
Conjunctivitis can sometimes be the result of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). In fact, gonorrhoea can bring on a very dangerous (but thankfully rare) form of bacterial conjunctivitis which may lead to vision loss if left untreated. The same can be said of chlamydia. Mothers who have either of these STDs when they give birth can pass these more serious forms of conjunctivitis onto their baby via the birth canal. If this occurs, treatment will need to begin immediately in order to save the baby’s vision.
Do you work within the healthcare sector and wish to learn more about conjunctivitis and other ear and eye conditions? Perhaps you work in paediatrics or with young adults?
If so, PDUK is pleased to offer a couple of courses you may well find useful: Paediatric minor illness and Minor ailments online: ear and eye conditions for the primary care practitioner. Aimed at a broad range of healthcare disciplines including paramedics, nurses, pharmacists, health visitors and other allied healthcare professionals, both courses can be completed online. Alternatively, the Paediatric minor illness course can be completed face to face on the 2nd– 4th February 2021 at Hamilton House, London.
Worth 21 hours and 4 hours of CDP respectively, they’re the ideal way to discover more about the causes, presentations and management of various paediatric minor illnesses. Click on the course links above to find out more and sign up, but we be quick! Spaces fill up fast so it’s recommended you book early.