Health Services


What is conjunctivitis?
There are three main types of conjunctivitis; acute bacterial conjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis & allergic conjunctivitis. The most common cause of conjunctivitis is viral and is associated with the common cold.  Usually symptoms develop during the 3rd-5th day of the cold symptoms and can be in either one or both eyes.  Viral infections usually involve eye discharge, and may cause the lids to be difficult to open upon waking, the drainage is not usually present during the day. Antibiotic eye drops are not necessary for viral conjunctivitis.  

Bacterial conjunctivitis causes a pink or red eye and usually causes a yellow or green discharge.The discharge is present during the morning and throughout the day.  If symptoms of drainage occur throughout the day, please schedule an appointment to be evaluated.  

Allergic conjunctivitis most often involves both eyes.  Allergic symptoms, such as sneezing and clear runny nose are also present

What are the symptoms of conjuctivitis?
The symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  • itching and burning eyes
  • copious tearing
  • sensation of foreign body in eye
  • mucopurulent drainage
  • enlargement of lymph nodes in front of ear
  • eyes very sensitive to light

What should I do?
In general you should wash your hands frequently. Do not rub your eyes, as this will aggravate your condition. Do not share wash cloths or pillows. Use a clean wash cloth. Change your pillowcase daily. Do not wear contact lens. Discard your eye make-up, because it is probably contaminated. Resume wearing eye make-up only after the conjunctivitis has resolved.  Warm or cool compresses may be helpful with symptom management.

Go to Health Services for an evaluation. If you are prescribed eye drops, do not share them. To instill the eye drops, depress the lower lid to form a sac. Instill drops into the lower part of the eye nearest the nose. Avoid touching the bottle tip to the eye.