Patient Information Sheet 

Conjunctivitis is an inflammatory condition of the conjunctiva, the clear transparent membrane which covers the white of the eye and lines the eyelids.  There are several causes, but the two most common are bacteria and viruses.

Signs and symptoms

Sore, gritty, red eyes, and discharge which may be watery or sticky, depending on the cause.  This makes the eyes sticky in the mornings.


The nurse may need to take swabs to determine the cause of the conjunctivitis.  The results of your swabs are usually known in a few days but in special cases may take several weeks.  We will contact you if they show that you need an alternative prescription.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is easily treated with antibiotic drops or ointment. There is no direct treatment for viral conjunctivitis. It will gradually clear up on its own, but the doctor may prescribe antibiotic drops or ointment to prevent a secondary bacterial infection occurring.

Conjunctivitis is infectious, so it is important that you follow these rules:

1. Keep your face flannel separate from those of the rest of the family.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching your eyes.

3. Use tissues, should you need to wipe your eyes, and dispose of them immediately afterwards.

4. Under no circumstances allow anyone else to use your eye drops or ointment. Throw them away when your treatment is finished. Never keep used bottles.

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