Conjunctivitis (Red Eye)

Pink Eye Got You Down? Visit Us in Listowel for Fast Diagnosis & Treatment of Your Symptoms.


It’s every parent’s nightmare: they drop their child off at school and notice that little Suzy has got a red eye. It isn’t long before the entire class has Suzy’s affliction, including your child (who seems to have it the worst… of course!). Of course, your child coming home with pink eye only means it’s a matter of time before you catch it… and you will.


The pathogens that cause bacterial/viral conjunctivitis are quite contagious and are usually spread via touch (highlighting the importance of excellent hygiene when sick). Due to this, if you or a family member has conjunctivitis we recommend staying home from work/school until your case is diagnosed.


Treatment for pinkeye depends on its cause. If you are unsure of what has caused your conjunctivitis, please request an appointmentto have one of our Optometrists diagnose your case.

Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with topical or oral antibiotics, though in most cases it is left to run its course (this minimizes bacterial antibiotic resistance as, in most cases antibiotics are not needed). Viral conjunctivitis must be left to run its course- antibiotics are ineffective on viruses.

Other cases of conjunctivitis start with a diagnosis. Once we know what is causing it, we can then provide next steps for treatment and symptom management.


Most cases of conjunctivitis are not serious and will pass on their own. However, if you or your child has had pinkeye for several days and it is not clearing, please schedule an appointment to have our Optometrist look into your symptoms.

Diagnosing Conjunctivitis – While the primary symptoms of conjunctivitis (the redness of the eye’s conjunctiva) are the same across all variations of conjunctivitis, variations of the condition have some unique symptoms. To diagnose bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, a swab of your eye secretions may be taken and sent to the lab for processing.

Our Optometrists see hundreds of patients each year for conjunctivitis. We are adept at quickly diagnosing it, determining its cause, and treating its frustrating symptoms.

The Types of Conjunctivitis – While all forms of conjunctivitis are referred to as “pink eye” by most people, there are actually three variations of it.

  • Viral conjunctivitis – This version typically accompanies a cold. The discharge from viral conjunctivitis is generally “thin” and watery.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis – This version typically comes with an ear infection. The discharge from bacterial conjunctivitis is thick; when sleeping, this type of conjunctivitis can cause a “crust” to form over the eye.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis – People with seasonal allergies tend to experience this version of conjunctivitis the most. Watery, scratchy eyes are the main symptom of this version of the disease.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis – The most notable symptom is inflammation of the conjunctiva (a normally clean layer of cells that line your eyelids and cover the sclera of your eye). When inflamed, the conjunctiva takes on a red/pink colour (hence, pinkeye).

Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling of the eyelid and surrounding eye tissues
  • Watery eyes (a result of increased tear production)
  • A feeling as if something is stuck in your eye (like a piece of sand)
  • Itchy, scratchy eyes
  • A discharge from the eye
  • A burning sensation from the eye