What to do when your eyes hurt from allergies
- wash hands regularly with warm soapy water
- wash pillows and face cloths in boiling water and detergent
- do not share towels and pillows
- do not rub your eyes
Staying away from work or school
You do not need to avoid work or school unless you or your kid are feeling extremely unwell.
Check if you own conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is also known as red or pink eye.
It generally affects both eyes and makes them:
- burn or feel gritty
- produce pus that sticks to lashes
If you’re not certain it’s conjunctivitis
Other conditions can cause red eyes.
How to treat conjunctivitis yourself
There are things you can do to assist ease your symptoms.
Use clean cotton wool (1 piece for each eye).
Boil water and then let it cool below before you:
- gently rub your eyelashes to clean off crusts
- hold a freezing flannel on your eyes for a few minutes to cool them down
Do not wear contact lenses until your eyes are better.
Treatment from a GP
Treatment will depend on the cause of your conjunctivitis.
If it’s a bacterial infection you might be prescribed antibiotics. But these will not work if it’s caused by a virus (viral conjunctivitis) or an allergy.
Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause conjunctivitis.
This type takes longer to clear up.
Sheet final reviewed: 9 January 2018
Next review due: 9 January 2021
Conjunctivitis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
By Gary Heiting, OD
A pharmacist can assist with conjunctivitis
Speak to a pharmacist about conjunctivitis. They can give you advice and propose eyedrops or antihistamines to assist with your symptoms.
Find a pharmacy
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
- your baby has red eyes – get an urgent appointment if your baby is less than 28 days old
- you wear contact lenses and own conjunctivitis symptoms as well as spots on your eyelids – you might be allergic to the lenses
- your symptoms own not cleared up after 2 weeks
Urgent advice: Get advice from 111 now if you have:
- pain in your eyes
- sensitivity to light
- changes in your vision, love wavy lines or flashing
- intense redness in 1 eye or both eyes
These can be signs of a more serious eye problem.
111 will tell you what to do.
They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.
Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.