It is the irritation of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that covers the back of the eyelids and the front of the eyeball. It is caused by infection or allergies. The eyes become red and swollen, and sometimes produce a sticky discharge.
It can occur in one or both eyes and usually disappears on its own in 1-2 weeks. Some types of conjunctivitis are highly contagious. During the summer it is a fairly common eye problem.
There are three main types of conjunctivitis:
Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type. It is caused by the same virus that causes the common cold. This conjunctivitis is very contagious and is usually transmitted in schools and other crowded places. In general, it causes burning, red eyes and watery discharge.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is also highly contagious. It presents with pain, red eyes and a lot of sticky pus.
Allergic conjunctivitis comes from an allergic reaction and is not contagious. The symptoms are very itchy, red and watery eyes, with the possibility of inflammation of the eyelids.
Remember not to self-medicate. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your ophthalmologist to receive the appropriate treatment for you.