Conjunctivitis is a condition characterised by the inflammation of the conjunctiva in the eye, and can be caused by an allergy, or a bacterial infection.
- Causes red eye and wateriness
- Burning may also be present
- Several factors can cause it
If you are experiencing conjunctivitis symptoms, you should speak to your GP.
3 treatment(s) for Conjunctivitis
- Available as an ointment or as eye drops
- Improves symptoms in just 24 hours
- Not available from our pharmacy
Conjunctivitis is a condition which causes redness, wateriness and sometimes the production of excess mucus in the eye, and may occur for a number of reasons, including bacterial infection or response to an allergen. It is more likely to occur in children, the elderly, and in those who may have a weakened defence system due to taking immunosuppressant drugs such as corticosteroids. The condition is often not serious but should be treated as soon as possible in order to avoid complications in infective instances.
Where the condition is the result of an allergy, symptoms come about when the immune system responds to an irritant, causing defensive chemicals to gather in the blood vessels in the eye and induce inflammation. Such cases are typically medicated with antihistamines, which you can find out more about on our allergy pages.
In those cases where a bacterial infection causes symptoms, a similar reaction develops, causing the blood vessels in the conjunctiva to widen due to inflammation, resulting in redness, a burning sensation and excess wateriness. The infection begins when harmful bacteria comes into contact with the eye; such as through close contact with someone else who is carrying the bacteria, or through the transfer of germs between an infected surface and the eye.
To treat this type of infection, a doctor will usually prescribe an antibiotic eye drop or ointment, in order to get to the site directly. Such products available to buy online from our UK pharmacy include Minims, Chloramphenicol, and Fucithalmic. Each of these treatments contain agents which prevent the bacteria responsible from multiplying and spreading. They do this by disrupting the growth process of the bacteria, stopping it from generating self-sustaining proteins it requires to survive.
Once the infection has been rendered static by this process, the immune system is better able to tackle it and eradicate its effects. In the majority of cases, improvements should be noticeable within 48 hours of beginning treatment. If they aren’t, then you should contact your doctor for further help.
If you are experiencing conjunctivitis symptoms, then you should make an appointment with your GP. They will be able to help you determine the cause of symptoms, and set out a treatment plan to suit.
Types of treatment
How conjunctivitis is treated will largely depend on the cause. In cases where symptoms are triggered by an allergic response to pollen or dust, a doctor may choose to issue an antihistamine in order to treat the condition. You can find out more about these types of products in our allergies section.
Where conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection, they will typically issue an antibiotic in the form of an eye drop or ointment, to combat the bacteria responsible.
Treatments for bacterial conjunctivitis include Fucithalmic, Minims and Chloramphenicol. All three are available as eye drops, whereas Chloramphenicol is also available as an ointment. However, you cannot purchase these from our online pharmacy. To get the treatment you need for bacterial conjunctivitis, you should see your GP in person.
How do they work?
In the manner of most other antibiotics, the active ingredients in these treatments work by attacking the bacteria’s capacity for growth. They do this by preventing them from producing proteins which are essential to this process. Once the bacteria cannot grow and spread any further, it becomes susceptible to the body’s defences, which eradicate what remains of the infection.
What are the side effects?
The most common side effect across all three medications is a slight blurriness in vision immediately following application, although this will usually dissipate within a short time. For more information on other side effects, please refer to the relevant page for each item.
Can I take them with other medications?
It depends which other treatments you are using. Tell your GP about these during your consultation with them, so that they can take into account the possibility of contraindications.
What’s the difference between the medications?
For the most part, these medications work in very similar ways. They may differ in their form: while all three treatments are sold as eye drops, Chloramphenicol is also available as an ointment.
But they may also be slightly different in their application frequency. Minims and Chloramphenicol may be taken up to six doses per day, whereas Fucithalmic is usually taken twice a day.
Should I take Minims, Chloramphenicol or Fucithalmic?
Your GP will advise you on the best treatment to use.
Are there different side effects?
Yes. Again, there are several side effects which have been recorded across all three, such as slightly blurred vision or a mild burning for a short time after application.
Is it right for me?
Those experiencing symptoms affecting their eyes should see their GP in person. They will be able to perform an examination of the affected area, and determine what the cause and best course of treatment in each case is.
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