Eye Flu Symptoms: Here Are 10 Best Tips By Doctors For Its Treatment

What is 'Eye Flu'?

Actually, the name of this infection is conjunctivitis, which is also known as 'Pink Eye Infection' or 'Eye Flu'. Conjunctivitis mainly occurs in African and Asian regions in epidemic proportions.

Protect Your Eyes
Protect Your Eyes
There are many forms of conjunctivitis. Of which, Viral conjunctivitis is the most common form. Though, the frequency of Bacterial conjunctivitis is less yet, it has the second position in terms of infectious conjunctivitis. 

Allergic and Toxic conjunctivitis are two other forms of conjunctivitis. Itching, mucoid discharge, chemosis, and eyelid edema are some of the symptoms of Allergic conjunctivitis. Long-term usage of eye drops with preservatives can cause toxic conjunctivitis. 

There are many alarming signs indicating a serious eye disease rather than a simple eye flu.  Severe pain, decreased vision, and painful pupillary reaction need prime consideration in the management of suspected cases of conjunctivitis. A doctor or ophthalmologist should conduct thorough physical examination with relevant history to rule out any systemic condition which can cause damage to conjunctiva. 

Which Type Of Conjunctivitis Do You Have? 

There are quite a few categories of conjunctivitis.  Etiology, chronicity, severity, and extend of involvement of the surrounding tissue are some factors to classify conjunctivitis. 

Basis on the etiology, conjunctivitis may be of two types infectious or non-infectious. Viral conjunctivitis and Bacterial conjunctivitis are the two forms of infectious conjunctivitis.

Non-infectious type of conjunctivitis includes Allergic and Toxin-induced conjunctivitis. 

Depending upon the duration of conjunctivitis or in terms of chronicity, conjunctivitis can be acute, subacute, and chronic conjunctivitis. When the onset is rapid and duration is four weeks or less then it is called Acute conjunctivitis. Subacute and chronic conjunctivitis lasts for longer than four weeks. 

Infectious Conjunctivitis:

1. Bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumoniae are the two main bacteria which are responsible for most of the bacterial conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis is more frequently seen in children than in adults. Direct contact with infected individuals can spread Bacterial conjunctivitis.

2. Viruses: Adenovirus, herpes simplex virus, or varicella-zoster virus are supposed to be the causative agent of Viral conjunctivitis. It is considered as one of the most common causes of infectious conjunctivitis. 

Non-Infectious Conjunctivitis:

1. Allergies: Every individual is prone to allergic reaction for some allergens. These allergens can be pollen, dust, mites or pet etc. Apart from skin rashes or respiratory allergic reactions, these allergens can also cause Allergic Conjunctivitis.

2. Toxins or Irritants: Smoke, smog, any chemical or fumes can cause Toxic Conjunctivitis by irritating the eyes. Researches indicate that long-term use of topical eye medications may be responsible for Toxic conjunctivitis. These can make changes on the ocular surface resulting in dry eyes, inflammation, ocular surface fibrosis, and scarring. 

How Does Conjunctivitis Spread?

  • Easiest mode of Conjunctivitis spread is direct contact. Like, touching the eyes of infected individual and then touching the healthy eyes.
  • Droplets or contaminated objects are other mode of transmission of infection. 
  • Overcrowded places, poor hygiene practices and weak immunity are certain risk factors which increase the chances of its transmission further.
  • It is common in our society to avoid gazing the eyes of infected person because virus spreads like this. However, it is only a myth. The virus does not spread in this manner. 
  • The infection spreads directly as mentioned above or by coming in contact with the infected objects like utensils, phone, keyboard, makeup kit etc.
  • Another mode of transmission may be swimming at a pool.

Symptoms Of Eye Flu

•Red Eyes: The inflammation may turn the eyes red, pink or bloodshot. It is usually diffuse in nature and involves the conjunctival surface as a whole. 

•Itchy Eyes: Itching, rubbing and discomfort may be observed in conjunctivitis.  Though itching is mainly correlated with allergic conjunctivitis however, there is one study which shows that 58% of patients with culture-positive bacterial conjunctivitis also complained of itchy eyes.

•Excessive Tears: In healthy eyes, tears are formed to protect and lubricate eyes. However, tears are produced in excess in conjunctivitis leading to watery discharge. 

•Discharge From Eyes: A sticky and yellowish and sometime purulent discharge may be seen in conjunctivitis cases. Especially when you wake up. It is typically observed in Bacterial conjunctivitis.

•Photophobia: The eyes become sensitive to light.  Exposure to sunlight may cause more pain and irritation in some cases. Therefore, people tend to avoid sunlight. This is known as photophobia.

•Grit In The Eye: Gritty sensation in the eyes is another symptom which has been reported. blurred vision is seen in rare cases.

How To Prevent 'Eye Flu'?

There are many ways to prevent 'eye flu', which doctors usually recommend at home:
Wash Your Eyes Regularly
Wash Your Eyes Regularly
  1. Avoid frequent touching or rubbing the eyes when you have eye flu.
  2. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day.
  3. Eyes should be washed 4 to 5 times a day with lukewarm water.
  4. Washing eyes with rose water reduces eye infection and irritation.
  5. If there is frequent discharge from the eyes, clean it with a clean handkerchief or tissue paper.
  6. Avoid activities which can cause eye strain like watching TV, working on phone, tablet or computer etc. 
  7. Avoid public gathering. 
  8. Stay at home as much as possible till the infection starts to subside.
  9. Use sun glasses because there is a fear of spreading the infection from infected person to other.
  10. Consult the doctor before using any conjunctivitis medicine.

Effective Treatment Options For Eye Flu

Eye flu is painful, irritating and cause discomfort. So, the treatment of eye flu is focused more on two goals
  1. To alleviate its symptoms and 
  2. To make the patient feel more comfortable. 

Medications along with home remedies can be used for the treatment of eye flu.

Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops are widely used for treatment of viral or allergic conjunctivitis. These are used to maintain the moisture of eyes and thereby reducing discomfort caused by dryness.

In case of Bacterial conjunctivitis, the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment or drops. These should be taken as directed by physician or doctor only. Do not discontinue it before taking an opinion from your doctor even if you start feeling better. 

Another treatment to reduce swelling and irritation of eyes is use of Warm compresses. Take a clean cloth and soak it in warm water. Wring it out completely. Now, place it over your closed eyes. Repeat it for several minutes at a time.

You can also use ice pack or Cold compresses in the same manner as warm compresses to reduce swelling and irritation.

Should I Seek Medical Attention For Eye Flu?

Though eye flu is self-limiting disease yet, you should consult a doctor especially ophthalmologist if you have eye flu. Here are some points to necessitate it:
  • Generally, eye flu may disappear on their own within a few days, however, if it is not treated correctly, it can cause serious complications.
  • If there is no improvement in symptoms of eye flu or the symptoms are worsening over time you should immediately seek medical attention. You never know, if these symptoms are merely due to simple eye flu or there is a more severe infection that requires prescription medication.
  • Get medical advice, if you have symptoms such as fever or chills. A thorough examination is required to rule out any other systemic disease.
  • Wearing contact lenses is in trend. Contact lens wearers should take extra precautions if they are suffering from eye flu. They are at higher side of the risk for developing serious complications from any type of infection in the eyes.


The spread of eye flu needs to be prevented. Washing your hands regularly and avoiding frequent touch of the eyes - these are the two simple and effective hygienic measures to prevent eye flu. However, if you get infected and experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, please seek effective medical treatment immediately. 

Regular eye checkup is must for overall eye health. Regular eye check-ups can help in detection of any potential disease or problem in advance. Contact lens wearers or individuals who use glasses, should follow proper hygiene practices when handling them.

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  1. Very useful information to prevent from eye flu.

  2. This was really interesting and valuable to read; I've been very fortunate to not have ever had conjunctivitis but I do know it spreads around sometimes. This was good to know what to do it it happens.

  3. This was a helpful post to read on how eye flu spreads and how to prevent it!

  4. The phrase eye flu is a new one to me. Useful tips, thank you!

  5. I don't think I've heard of conjunctivitis being called eye flu before. Interesting read

  6. Thank you for sharing. I never knew they were multiple kinds of eye flu.

  7. I've had conjunctivitis once, and hopefully never again! If I start to sense any bit of eye infection/irritation, I mix salt with warm water, soak a cotton ball in the saltwater mix and then gently wipe the cotton ball over my eyes; that always seems to do the trick. Thank you for sharing these valuable tips and reminding us better care of our eye health!

  8. Very interesting and informative! I have to take care of my eyes since I was kid and these will be help to other people as well. Thank you for sharing!

  9. This is a really informative blog post. This will help many people if they are dealing with this. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren - bournemouthgirl


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