Specific Nursing Care







The conjunctiva is the thin transparent membrane lining the front of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelids.  Conjunctivitis, commonly know as sore eye or pink eye, is the inflammation of the conjunctiva caused by infection or allergy.  The tiny blood vessels within the conjunctiva are irritated and enlarged.  Most cases of simple conjunctivitis last from five to seven days.


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Causes of Conjunctivitis


Infection:  Bacteria or viruses may be transmitted to the eye via sources such as contaminated hands, towels, eye makeup, and contact lenses. They may also travel from an infection in the nose up through a tear duct and into the eye.  Both viral and bacterial infections are very contagious. They can be easily spread from person to person.
Allergy:  Pollen is the most common cause for allergic conjunctivitis.  Other factors that can inflame the conjunctiva include eye makeup, contact lens solution and certain eye-drops.
Irritants:  These include dust, smoke, fumes, air pollution, chlorine in the swimming pool, hair spray etc.


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Signs and Symptoms


The affected eye may have any of the following symptoms:



The white of the eye looks red or pink coloration



Tearing of the eye



Stinging and itchy sensation



The eye feels as if there is something in it



Yellow discharge in the case of bacterial infection



The eyelids may become stuck together with discharges



The eyelids may be swollen



Sensitive to light


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Homecare Tips


Take the prescribed medicines and eye-drops as instructed by your doctor.


If the conjunctivitis is due to allergy/irritant, identify the source so that it can be avoided if possible.


Pay close attention to hygiene to prevent spreading the infection.


Do not share face towels.  Change them daily and wash them separately in detergent and hot water.


To prevent contamination, wash hands frequently and avoid touching the eyes.  Hands should be washed before and after procedure that require touching the eye.


Change the pillowcase frequently as it may be contaminated with eye discharge.


Frequent gentle cleansing of the eyelids with warm water to prevent encrustation.  Precaution must be observed to treat each eye separately so that infection is not transferred to the unaffected eye.


Warm compresses help to soothe discomfort.  The heat increased blood flow around the eye which facilitates the body’s natural defense mechanisms.  Many micro-organisms are also sensitive to heat.  To make a compress, soak a clean, lint-free cloth in warm water and wring it out before applying it to the closed eyelids.  Be extra careful when using warm liquid because it may cause burn to the skin around the eye.


Avoid rubbing the eyes.  Cool compresses help reduce itching and swelling.  They also provide some comfort.


Reduce sugar intake. Sugar makes the body more acidic, which inhibits healing.  In addition, bacterial infections thrive in the presence of sugar.


Vitamins A and C are important in supporting the body immune system. These can be found in green and yellow vegetables and fruits.  In addition, vitamin A protects and heals mucous membranes, and vitamin C fosters healing and is mildly anti-inflammatory.


Keep the room dim to promote comfort.  Wear sunglasses if the eyes are sensitive to the light.


If the condition has no improvement or seems to be getting worse, consult your doctor immediately.  Signs of worsening infection include:

  • fever

  • visual changes

  • the eye looks cloudy

  • increasing pain in the eye

  • tissues around the eyes seem to be affected

  • thick discharge from the eye

  • no improvement with medication within 48 hours

  • eyes become very sensitive to light

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