Infective conjunctivitis can be treated in a number of ways depending on its severity. In majority of conjunctivitis though medical treatment is not needed, as the condition will clear up in a couple of weeks of its own accord.
Treatment options for infective conjunctivitis assuming they are caused by bacteria include the following:
Antibiotics are normally used for infective conjunctivitis only when the condition has afflicted the patient for more than two weeks or when it has become really severe. If the condition is not that grave, your eye doctor will probably not prescribe antibiotics because of its minimal effect in your recovery. Besides, untreated conjunctivitis presents only a negligible risk of developing complications.
There are two types of antibiotics that are usually used:
This comes in the form of eye drops. Ointments may also be used if the optometrist has adjudged you as unsuitable for eye drops.
A drop of chlorsig is placed in the infected eye every couple of hours for the first two days. The frequency is then decreased to every four hours over the succeeding five days. You need not disrupt your sleep patterns, however, as the drop is only needed during your waking hours.
In Australia this drop is now available over the counter. Its main problem is it is well over prescribed and its preservatives can cause a chronic red eye reaction if used indiscriminately. This drug is better reserved for Gram Positive bacteria.
This antibiotic is best used for gram-negative bacteria, especially if the conjunctivitis is present with contact lens wear.
2. Self Care for Infective Conjunctivitis
a. Regular Washing of Hands
Always wash your hands so that the infection won’t get further aggravated. Hand washing must also be done after touching the infected eye to prevent conjunctivitis from infecting other people.
b. Removal of Sticky Discharge
If you notice a sticky discharge in your eye lashed or eye lids, remove it gently and carefully using a soaked cotton wool.
c. Replacement of Contact Lens
If you have contact lens, remove and avoid wearing them until all the signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis are gone. Discard the old lens as well as it is a possible source of the infection.
d. Use of Lubricants and Eye Drops
There are over the counter lubricants and eye drops that are available to relieve the infection. These are designed to alleviate any soreness and sticky feeling that you may have in your eyes. It is far better to choose ones with no preservatives.
Potential Side Effects
The usual side effects of eye drops are a blurring of vision and a burning or stinging sensation in the eye after its application. These effects should only last for a very brief period.
If you notice an intense redness in your eye, or feel any loss of vision, pain or sensitivity to light, it is important to seek prompt medical help. Infective conjunctivitis that lasts for more than two weeks must also be referred to a therapeutic optometrist or an ophthalmologist immediately.
The condition may also be a symptom of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. Chalmydia, for example, has been found to cause this disease. In such cases, your eye condition would need several months before it gets relieved. Typically it requires an oral antibiotic.
At The Eye Practice we treat red eyes every day. It is important to remember that every red eye IS NOT necessarily an infection. In fact INFECTIVE CONJUNCTIVITIS is more often a viral infection for which antibiotics are useless. It can get confusing.
If you think you have an eye infection call us on (02) 9290 1899 or MAKE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE.