Commonly known as “pinkeye” because of the inflamed tissues that are seen when the eyelid is pulled back, conjunctivitis is the most common infectious disease of the eye that affects children. Although most types of conjunctivitis are contagious, it usually causes no danger to the eye. Besides infections, conjunctivitis can also be caused by inflammation or irritants to the eye.

The first symptom of conjunctivitis is discomfort in the eye, followed by redness and inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue covering the eye and inner surface of the eyelids. There is some pain associated with conjunctivitis, but your child will probably complain mostly of discomfort that is not relieved by rubbing or the sensation of something that feels like sand in the eye.

After a day or so of these symptoms, a white, yellow, or green discharge from the eyes may be present. In bacterial conjunctivitis, the discharge will be somewhat thick. In viral conjunctivitis, the discharge may be thinner, and may even be clear.

Most conditions in the adult are secondary to staphylococcus (staph) or streptococcus (strep) infections. If the discharge is severe, gonococcal (gonorrhea) conjunctivitis must be considered. In children, the bacteria known as Hemophilus influenza may be present. This bacterial infection is not related to the common flu, which is viral in nature. Newborn infants with conjunctivitis must be evaluated for gonococcal and chlamydia conjunctivitis (sexually transmitted diseases), however, staphylococcus, streptococcus, and other infectious agents must be considered as well.

Neonatal and adult inclusion conjunctivitis result from exposure to infected genital secretions. It is transmitted to the eye at birth or by fingers and occasionally by the water in swimming pools, poorly chlorinated hot tubs, or by sharing makeup. In adult inclusion conjunctivitis, one eye is usually involved, with a stringy discharge of mucus and pus. There may be little bumps called follicles inside the lower eyelid and the eye is red. Occasionally, the condition damages the cornea, causing cloudy areas and a growth of new blood vessels.

In most cases of adult or childhood conjunctivitis, treatment with topical antibiotics is initiated without cultures. If the ophthalmologist elects for cultures, antibiotic therapy is usually initiated and treatment changed later, as necessary, depending on culture results. Gonococcal conjunctivitis requires intravenous or intramuscular antibiotics in addition to topical therapy.


Signs, symptoms & indicators of Conjunctivitis

Symptoms - Head - Eyes/Ocular  

Discharges from eyes


Bloodshot eyes


Irritated eyes


Red eyelids

Risk factors for Conjunctivitis


Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis occasionally causes eye inflammation which resolves when the colitis is treated.


Vitamin A Requirement

Vitamin A deficiency has been reported in people with chronic conjunctivitis. It is unknown whether vitamin A supplementation can prevent conjunctivitis or help people who already have the condition. [Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1976;46: pp.454-7 {in German}]

Symptoms - Head - Eyes/Ocular  

Past episodes of bloodshot eyes

Recommendations for Conjunctivitis


Colloidal Silver

Here is a site describing the potential benefits of using collodial silver directly in the eyes.


MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane)

MSM eye drops used frequently may help with mild conjunctivitis. It should not be used as a substitute for antibiotics in serious infection.


Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
May do some good
Likely to help



Mucous membrane covering the posterior surface of the eyelids and the anterior surface of the eyeball.


A sexually-transmitted disease that is often without symptoms. If there are symptoms in the female, they include frequent and painful urination, cloudy vaginal discharge, vaginal itching, inflammation of the pelvic area, and abnormal uterine bleeding. If the male has a purulent (pus-like) urethral discharge, he should assume he has gonorrhea until proven otherwise.


Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.


A sexually-transmitted disease that is often without symptoms. Some females experience a white vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese, a burning sensation when urinating, itching, and painful intercourse. A clear watery urethral discharge in the male probably is a chlamydia infection.


A term that refers to newborn infants, particularly during the first four weeks of life.


Transparent structure forming the anterior part of the eye.


Most commonly 'topical application': Administration to the skin.

Ulcerative Colitis

(Colitis ulcerosa): Ulceration of the colon and rectum, usually long-term and characterized by rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, frequent urgent diarrhea/bowel movements each day, abdominal pain.


Inflammation of the colon.

Vitamin A

A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Plays an important part in the growth and repair of body tissue, protects epithelial tissue, helps maintain the skin and is necessary for night vision. It is also necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin A only, 1mg translates to 833 IU.


Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

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