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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Allergic conjunctivitis has a wide geographical distribution and is particularly common in tropics like the Indian subcontinent.
The main reasons for referral of patients by PHC physicians in this study were those affecting the anterior segment of the eye, for example, errors of refraction, cataract, allergic conjunctivitis, chalazion, and squint.
Table-III: Comparison of the punctate epitheliopathy according the presence or absence of allergic conjunctivitis at third day after corneal collagen cross-linking.
[8] Olopatadine is used in various allergic diseases, and its ophthalmic solution is used in allergic conjunctivitis. It is available for ophthalmic use as 0.1% solution used twice daily and recently 0.2% solution which has a longer duration of action is used as once daily dosing.
Baig, "Prevalence of allergic conjunctivitis in school children of Karachi," Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, vol.
Topical treatments for seasonal allergic conjunctivitis: systematic review and meta-analysis of efficacy and effectiveness.
This is true of allergic conjunctivitis where the primary symptom is ocular itching.
However, the vast majority (80 to 90 percent) of eye allergies are caused by seasonal and perennial allergic conjunctivitis.
The outcomes of therapy were compared with those obtained upon treatment of 33 patients (65 eyes), included into the control group, with of "Oftadec" eye drops (0.1% solution) (Ukraine) for exacerbation of chronic allergic conjunctivitis (vernal keratoconjunctivitis, gigantic papillary and papillary conjunctivitis).
21 individuals (12 males and 9 females, mean age 11.3 years, range 5-17) with active perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC) were studied.
Allergic conjunctivitis is usually observed together with rhinitis, asthma and eczema in advanced childhood and early adulthood and conjunctival edema may accompany.
To induce experimenral allergic conjunctivitis, an antigen challenge was made on days 15 and 18, using an OVA solution (5mg/ml) instilled into both eyes of the mice in Group 1; while the mice in Group 2 received Human Balanced Salt Solution instead of OVA.