Eye Infections

Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the protective membrane that lines your eyelids and the whites of your eye (conjunctiva).

It can be caused by a virus (like the common cold) or bacterial infection. Antibiotic eye drops are not usually necessary for mild infection.

Symptoms of infectious conjunctivitis can last from 2 days to 3 weeks. 

Good hygiene (especially hand washing) and keeping young children home from daycare/school can help prevent the spread of infectious conjunctivitis.

See your doctor if:

  • your symptoms are severe or painful
  • you have a weak immune system
  • your infection does not get better in a week without treatment.
  • Styes

A stye is an infection of one of the oil glands in your eyelid. It occurs when a gland in your eyes becomes blocked and infected. This causes watery eyes with red swollen eyelids.


Styes are common and should clear up on their own in a week or two.

It's important to not burst the stye at home as this may spread the infection.

See your doctor if it doesn't clear up or gets worse, or if your sight become blurred.

How is a stye treated?
The aim of treatment is to keep your eyelids clean and free of irritants and allow the natural healing process to clear the infection. You can do this treatment at home. It involves applying a warm compress to your eyelid to unblock the glands, followed by eyelid massage and cleaning of the eyelid

Warm compress: Hold cotton facial pads soaked in warm water against your closed eyelids for 5 to 10 minutes or apply the Opti-Soothe mask. Repeat this twice a day. This helps melt the oils in the blocked glands, allowing the oils to flow more freely.

Eyelid massage: To massage eyelids, use the tip of your finger to firmly stroke the skin of the top eyelids in a circular motion. This will help unblock the oil glands and squeeze out the oils.

Eyelid cleaning: Use Opti-Soothe eyelid wipes to clean away any crusts present on the eyelashes and rub along the eyelids. Use a clean wipe for each eyelid. Repeat this process twice a day.
If you follow these steps, most styes will heal.

If you have dry eyes, use an eye lubricant such as artificial tears, to keep your eyes moist. 
While your eyes are irritated and inflamed, avoid using eye make-up such as eye shadow, eyeliner and other cosmetics around the eye. Also, avoid using contact lenses until the condition is under control.

For more information:
https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/c/conjunctivitis/
https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/s/stye/

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