What is conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the white membrane covering the eyeball and inner lining of the eyelids. The infection may affect one or both eyes but is not usually painful. This comes on relatively quickly and lasts for a fairly short time. Acute conjunctivitis may clear on its own, but often needs treatment from your doctor.
Mostly both eyes are affected, but often one starts before the other.
The eye is sticky, with a discharge, which is worse when you wake up.
The eye is red, with the blood vessels over the white of the eye more visible and swollen. The lining of the eyelids also looks redder or pinker than usual.
The eye is itchy or painful.
The cause is mostly bacterial or viral in origin, but can be caused by contact lenses, allergy to drugs, pollen, or foreign bodies .
Treatment depends upon the cause and is often self-limiting, but eye drops are available to help reduce the inflammation, while antibiotics may be prescribed for a bacterial infection.
You could try bathing the eyes with water or water with a pinch of salt in it.
As the condition is often highly contagious, children suffering from conjunctivitis should use separate facecloths and towels to prevent it spreading to others. If applying ointment or bathing your child's eyes you should wash your hands immediately. Advice your child on touching his/her eyes or she could spread the infection.