What is viral conjunctivitis?
Viral conjunctivitis is a highly contagious eye infection caused by viruses.
How will I know that I have viral conjunctivitis?
Viral conjunctivitis can lead to one or more of these symptoms:
- eye irritation and redness
- excessive tearing from eyes
- discharge from the eyes
- swelling of the eyelids
- photophobia (unable to tolerate looking into sunlight)
- often associated with an upper respiratory tract infection (cold).
How did I get viral conjunctivitis?
Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and means you are likely to have come into contact with someone who already has conjunctivitis.
What does the treatment involve?
- If you develop viral conjunctivitis you may be treated with an antibiotic eye drop and/or a steroid eye drop.
- Treatment helps to decrease inflammation and alleviate symptoms, but the antibiotics or steroids will not treat the infection itself.
- Symptoms may be eased with a cool compress and some lubricant eye drops (artificial tears) as required.
- Some patients find it soothing to keep their lubricating eye drops refrigerated.
How to stop the spread of viral conjunctivitis?
- Throw away tissues that may have come into contact with eye discharge.
- Do not share your towel, face washer, pillows or soap with other people.
- Do not share your eye drops with anyone, even if they also have conjunctivitis.
- Wash your hands before and after touching your eye and using eye drops.
Things to remember
- You will remain infectious as long as there is a discharge from your eye (usually 10-14 days after the last eye becomes symptomatic).
- If you usually wear contact lenses, throw away the lenses you have been using. Do not use contacts until you have been symptom free for one week, then use fresh lenses.
- Children with conjunctivitis should be kept home from school. Symptoms may last from two days up to three weeks.
When to seek additional medical advice:
- Severe pain or sensitivity to light.
- Decreased vision.
- Redness persisting greater than 10-14 days.
For any further information please contact our Infection Control Department.