Eye inflammation (conjunctivitis)

Red eyes or itching may be signs of eye inflammation. Suppuration can also make it hard to open your eyes after sleeping. Inflammation often goes away by itself within one to two weeks. In rare cases, if the symptoms are long-lasting and caused by bacteria, you may need antibiotics.


Infective conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by a virus. Bacterial infections, allergies, other irritants, and dryness are also common causes. Both bacterial and viral infections are contagious, passing from person to person or spread through contaminated objects or water. Contact with contaminated fingers is a common cause of conjunctivitis. Bacteria may also reach the conjunctiva from the edges of the eyelids and the surrounding skin, from the nasopharynx, from infected eye drops or contact lenses, or from the genitals or the bloodstream. Infection by human adenovirus accounts for 65% to 90% of cases of viral conjunctivitis.


The most common symptoms include:


  • Redness 
  • Itchiness 
  • A gritty feeling in eyes
  • A discharge from one or both eyes that forms a crust during the night that may prevent your eyes from opening in the morning
  • Tearing

Prevention and protection

The most effective prevention is good hygiene, especially avoiding rubbing eyes with infected hands. Vaccination against adenovirus, Haemophilus influenzae, pneumococcus, and Neisseria meningitidis is also effective.


Povidone-iodine eye solution has been found to prevent neonatal conjunctivitis.


If your eye inflammation is caused by a virus, it usually goes away by itself within five to ten days. Inflammation caused by viruses is not treated. Bacterial eye inflammation often disappears by itself within one to two weeks, but may need to be treated with antibiotics.


For allergic conjunctivitis, rinse with cold water or artificial tears, which can relieve discomfort in mild cases. In more severe cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be prescribed. Persistent allergic conjunctivitis may also require topical steroid drops.

When to consult a doctor

If you have an eye inflammation that doesn’t go away within two weeks, you should seek medical help. This also applies to long-term, one-sided problems.


If your eye problems have occurred after an injury or a blow to the eye, you should go to the emergency room. In case of pain, light sensitivity, vision loss or other visual impairment, you should also seek urgent care.

How APPOTEK can help

You can contact us at APPOTEK for help with eye inflammation. A nurse or physician can make an individual assessment based on your symptoms, after which you may be prescribed treatment or referred to a specialist for further examination.


If your child has a problem, they should see a doctor.


Vadym Diadiun, Doctor of Medicine, M.D.