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conjunctivitis (kənjəngtəvīˈtəs), inflammation or infection of the mucosal membrane that covers the eyeball and lines the eyelid, usually acute, caused by a virus or, less often, by a bacillus, an allergic reaction, or an irritating chemical. Commonly called pinkeye, mild conjunctivitis usually causes redness, discharge, and itching of the membrane. Conjunctivitis may also be associated with upper respiratory infection or with childhood diseases such as measles. Bacterial forms of the disorder, whether chronic or acute, are treated successfully with antibiotics, and although viral conjunctivitis will clear up on its own in 8 to 10 days, antibiotic eyedrops or ointments are often prescribed for most cases of the disease in order to prevent bacterial conjunctivitis. Trachoma, though rare in the United States, is a severe conjunctivitis that can cause loss of vision. Another severe form of conjunctivitis is caused by the gonococcus bacterium and is usually associated with a genital infection. Conjunctivitis in newborn infants, called ophthalmia neonatorum, was a problem at one time; however, routine instillation of silver nitrate solution into the eyes of newborn infants has materially reduced the incidence of blindness.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



inflammation of the conjunctiva.

Conjunctivitis is the most common eye disease. It may be exogenous or endogenous in origin; the former is more frequent. Exogenous conjunctivitis is caused by various microbes, including streptococci, staphylococci, the diphtheria bacillus, and gonococci. The Koch-Weeks bacillus and the Morax-Axenfeld diplococcus are specific for conjunctivitis. The cause is also often viral infection. In addition, the condition may result from mechanical irritation, such as by foreign bodies, from exposure to heat, ultraviolet and ionizing radiation, or chemical agents.

Endogenous conjunctivitides arise in the presence of systemic infections (measles, scarlet fever), inflammations of the nasopharynx or teeth, or diseases of the gastrointestinal tract or liver. There are also allergic conjunctivitides.

Conjunctivitis is classified as either acute or chronic, according to its course. Acute conjunctivitis is manifested by a purulent discharge from the eye and redness (hyperemia) of the palpebral and ocular conjunctivae and sometimes by punctate hemorrhages under the conjunctiva and conjunctival edema. In some cases the surface of the conjunctiva becomes rough, a result of the appearance in it of ridged formations, or follicles, and papillae. Chronic conjunctivitis shows moderate changes in the conjunctiva. Most notable are subjective sensations, such as a feeling of dust in the eye and photophobia. Conjunctivitis is treated with sulfanilamides and antibiotic eyedrops. Hormonal (corticosteroid) preparations are used in some cases. In cases with purulent discharge the eyes are irrigated with boric acid solution or with a weak solution of potassium permanganate.


Conjunctivitis in animals is most often observed as a symptom of various other diseases. The causes of independent conjunctivitides in animals may be mechanical, chemical, or radiant irritants or the causative agents of certain infectious diseases. The principal manifestation is conjunctival hyperemia. The condition is treated by eliminating the primary causes and using antiseptic solutions.


Arkhangel’skii, V. N. Glaznye bolezni, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969. Pages 124–33.
Mnogotomnoe rukovodstvo po glaznym bolezniam, vol. 2, book 1. Moscow, 1960. Pages 46–186.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Inflammation of the conjunctiva.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


inflammation of the conjunctiva
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Bloodshot eyes occur when the small blood vessels of the usually transparent conjunctiva membrane on the surface of the eye become enlarged and congested with blood, giving a red tint to the underlying sclera, the "white" of the eyes.
The question concerning eye symptoms was, "Have you had any of the following symptoms in the past one month: itchy eyes, bloodshot eye, and/or lacrimation?" The question concerning respiratory system symptoms was, "In the past one month, have you had any of the following symptoms: mucus, nasal congestion, coughing, sputum, and/or dyspnea?" The age, gender, and smoking status were recorded as characteristics of the study subjects.
Then 30 pairs of bloodshot eyes look you up and down.
North turned then on his friend with bloodshot eyes and a half smile.
Today (pictured right) Yasmine's bloated face is barely recognisable and her sunken, bloodshot eyes are ringed with dark shadows.
They almost all have bloodshot eyes, long, lippy mouths, and wardrobes mixing the utterly chic and the acutely thrifted (to which Calvin pays Alex Katz-like attention).
Bloodshot eyes aside, what Republic readers (482,159 daily, 614,422 Sunday) will be looking at is a major redesign of the paper, one that already is being sketched out in the drawing room.
A life-sized picture of Saddam Hussein's face (replete with bloodshot eyes) glared out from Time's cover.
The inspector was concerned by their bloodshot eyes and alcoholic breath -- not to mention the deep gash on Prouse's forehead.
Sometimes we also have to deal with those telltale bloodshot eyes. This condition may cause us to be accused by our friends of engaging in wild parties, and while such may be the case in some instances, bloodshot eyes can result from many factors.
However, heavy kava drinking can lead to scaling of the skin and bloodshot eyes. Kavalactones may trigger an allergic reaction that causes this condition, he says.
does not usually have physical manifestations, but a teen that has constantly bloodshot eyes can provide a clue to what he or she is up to.