Viral, Allergic and Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Symptoms and Eye Drops


What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is an eye disease that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva and the sclera (white part of the eye), a transparent and thin membrane that lines the front of the eyeball and the inner part of the eyelids.

Inflammation can affect one or both eyes, but it is common for both eyes to be affected, due to the proximity of each other. It usually lasts between 1 and 2 weeks, usually does not cause sequelae and is very frequent in the summer. Conjunctivitis can be characterized as acute or chronic. .

The blood vessels of the sclera are in the conjunctiva and, when inflamed, they look reddish.

Types and Causes

There are six types of conjunctivitis better known, they are:

  • Allergic conjunctivitis;
  • Viral conjunctivitis;
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis;
  • Fungal conjunctivitis;
  • Gonococcal conjunctivitis;
  • Inclusion conjunctivitis.

It is known that the most common of conjunctivitis is viral, followed by bacterial. Both are easily transmitted between people. The third most common is allergic conjunctivitis, but, unlike the others, it is not transmissible from person to person.

Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis happens when the eyes come into contact with some substance that irritates the eyes. The substances that cause the most allergic reaction to the eyes are: dust, pollen, mold, animal hair, among others.

This type of conjunctivitis is not transmissible, so there is no need to miss class or work. It is also not necessary to use other objects, such as cutlery, bed linen and towels.

Most of the times, in addition to allergic conjunctivitis, sneezing and runny nose are also present, the latter causing a lot of itching.

Read more: Antiallergic eye drops: what are the options?

Viral conjunctivitis

This is the most common form of conjunctivitis and is usually caused by a virus known as adenovirus. Virosis symptoms can be common when infected, such as fever and cold- like symptoms .

This is the most communicable type of conjunctivitis and people can become infected through eye secretions. If the patient touches the eyes and immediately after touching an object and another person also uses the same object, they can be infected.

But it is important to make it clear that the disease is not transmitted through the air. Not touching the same things as someone with the disease is enough to not be contaminated. If the patient has respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and sneezing, then the virus can be transmitted. Not by air, but by the secretions it emitted.

This type of conjunctivitis begins in one eye and, in 1 to 2 days, is already transmitted to the other eye. The disease is cured alone, between 7 to 10 days the problem is solved, without the need for treatment. But often, the doctor may recommend eye drops to cause less discomfort.

Contagion can be done as long as the eye is red.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

This type of conjunctivitis is much less common than viral. There are only five types of bacteria that can affect the eyes, and they are known as:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae;
  • Staphylococcus aureus;
  • Moraxella catarrhalis;
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa;
  • Haemophilus influenzae.

Transmission occurs through contact between secretions, one of which must be contaminated. In bacterial conjunctivitis, personal contact is necessary for the transmission to be carried out. Sharing towels and bedding can be a risk factor.

Although conjunctivitis occurs in the eyes, the secretion can be on all parts of the skin and just one touch is enough to infect another person. The use of antibiotic eye drops in the composition is indicated to treat the problem.

Fungal conjunctivitis

It is rare to happen, but it occurs when a person has an accident with wood in the eyes or with contact lenses.

Gonococcal conjunctivitis

Caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, gonococcal conjunctivitis is a type of sexually transmitted disease. The disease can be transmitted at the time of delivery and is treated with systemic and eye antibiotics . If there is no treatment, gonococcal infection can penetrate the intact eye and destroy it.

Inclusion conjunctivitis

Caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, a DK serotype that belongs to the adult genital tract. The duration of this type of conjunctivitis is longer and usually affects sexually active young people. This type of conjunctivitis can be treated with azithromycin or doxycycline.

Distinction from allergic, viral and bacterial conjunctivitis

As many people have this doubt, below you can distinguish the 3 main ones (allergic, viral and bacterial):

  • The three types of conjunctivitis usually cause discharge from the eyes. While in the bacterial the secretion is purulent, in the viral and allergic the secretion is usually more watery.
  • In the viral form, other symptoms of virosis are usually present, such as sore throat, sneezing, coughing and malaise.
  • The allergic form usually affects both eyes at the same time, while the bacterial and viral form first affects one eye and, days later, the other.
  • Palpable lymph nodes in the posterior region of the ears are usually present in bacterial and viral forms, different from allergic forms, which do not usually present them.

The diagnosis is not easy to make and, often, ophthalmologists make mistakes, giving several eye drops that have antibiotics for conjunctivitis that they do not need, such as viral and allergic.

Groups and risk factors

Having low immunity can be a risk factor for conjunctivitis. Having dirty hands, not constantly changing bedding and towels can also facilitate contact with the disease. Another factor that can bring risk is the predisposition to autoimmune or viral diseases .

The groups most likely to have the problem are:

  • Allergic people;
  • Newborns;
  • Workers who work with metal and glass shards and do not use goggles;
  • People who have contact with cleaning products;
  • People who work in the handling of medicines and chemicals without the use of goggles.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis

The main symptoms of conjunctivitis are:

  • Red eyes;
  • Itch;
  • Swollen eyelids;
  • Purulent secretion, in the case of bacterial conjunctivitis;
  • Whitish secretion, in the case of viral conjunctivitis;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Upon waking up, the patient has difficulty opening his eyes;
  • Feel pain in the eyes when looking at places with clarity;
  • Feeling of sand in the eyes.


The doctor who specializes in diagnosing conjunctivitis is the ophthalmologist.

The first step is to find out the type of conjunctivitis (allergic, bacterial or viral).

For this, an examination known as bomicospia is done, using a device that enlarges the image, at least 10 times, carrying out a detailed evaluation. After that, the doctor, through the instillation of fluorescein, detects possible lesions in the cornea.


The treatment can be done with compresses soaked in saline and eye drops indicated by the doctor, besides it is very important to clean the eyes frequently. It is very important to consult the doctor to make the treatment, as it is he who will indicate the type of conjunctivitis and, consequently, the treatment. The use of the correct eye drops is essential because there are some anti-inflammatories, other antibacterials and other antiallergens.

Chamomile compresses can soothe the symptoms of conjunctivitis by preventing inflammation. When applying, it is important that it is done with gauze to filter and apply over the eye.

Contact lenses should not be used during treatment. Special care with hygiene must also be increased to avoid the evolution of the infection.

Medicines for conjunctivitis

  • Celergin;
  • Flanax;
  • Asmofen ;
  • Celestamine ;
  • Hixizine;
  • Maxitrol;
  • Meticorten ;
  • Gentamicin ;
  • Clordox;
  • Doxycycline ;
  • Ketotifen fumarate .

It is important to emphasize that self-medication should never be done.

Eye drops for conjunctivitis

There are specific eye drops for each type of conjunctivitis. For the main three, we separate the most indicated and used by ophthalmologists. Check out:

Viral conjunctivitis

  • Moura Brasil ;
  • Dunason;
  • Lacril ;
  • Cellufresh;
  • Lacribell;
  • Ecofilm;
  • Refresh.

Allergic conjunctivitis

  • Ketotifen;
  • Decadron;
  • Zaditen.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

  • Biamotil ;
  • Flumex;
  • Maxitrol;
  • Chloramphenicol ;
  • Dexafenicol ;
  • Polypred ;
  • Vixmicina
  • Eye .


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained on this site is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.


If not treated properly, injury and damage to the cornea can occur and even cause blindness. It is important to protect your eyes with hygienic measures, and not just them, but your hands too!

If even after the indication of medical treatment there is no improvement in 7 days, it is necessary to return to the office for the reevaluation and, if necessary, the exchange of medications.


The best form of prevention for conjunctivitis is:

  • Don’t scratch your eyes;
  • Avoid agglomerations;
  • Wash your hands frequently;
  • Do not wear contact lenses during the treatment period;
  • Avoid sunbathing;
  • Do not frequent environments with babies;
  • Do not share towels, mascara, eyeliner or other beauty products;
  • Change pillowcases frequently.

Conjunctivitis is very common during childhood and in places that are very crowded. To get more people interested in the problem, share this text with your friends, colleagues and family!