What is Eye Flu?

What is Eye Flu

Eye flu is an eye disease identified as viral conjunctivitis. It is a usual eye infection that we face at some time in life. This infection causes eye irritation and it is a state when an individual has sore eyes.

Viral conjunctivitis can take place in epidemics affected by one of the viruses responsible for the common cold. The condition can occur due to chemicals found in eye drops, cosmetics, or contact lens solution.

A highly infectious disease, conjunctivitis is the swelling or pain caused in the conjunctiva, a thin membrane which encloses the front of the eyes. Though eye flu can harm individuals of all years but it’s more common with children.

But few people know and understand what to do and how to protect in case of this problem. Sometimes such infections are caused by something going on in the eyes like dust or dirt. People who wear poor lenses are also more probable to suffer from this infection. This infection starts with one eye, but soon the other eye also catches it. It happens mostly in cold weather or monsoon. It is a contagious disease that can happen to anyone. Once it happens to someone, it also spreads to the people living around them. After it infects the eye, the eyes first look dark yellow and then after some time the colour of the eyes changes to red.

Symptoms of Eye Flu

  •  Eyes turn red Itchy eyes and can see swollen eyes
  •  Fluid discharge from eyes
  •  Blurred Vision
  • Bleeding from the eye
  •  Lid Swelling
  • Swelling because of inflammation or rubbing
  • A sticky eyelid
  •  Severe itching in eyes or pain in the eyes
  • Soreness and grittiness like sand in the eye
  • Insensitivity to sunlight or bright light, also known as photophobia.

Causes of eye flu

  • Inflammation in the eye can be due to a virus or bacteria.
  • Viruses can give rise to eye flu and adenoviruses and some kinds of herpes virus.
  • Bacterial problems involve Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus species etc.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis is occasionally created by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) like Chlamydia. If signs do not fade after a month, this may mean that the person is infected with STD.
  • Most contrasting bacterial conjunctivitis will settle with more immediate therapy. Infective conjunctivitis is very infectious and can swiftly infect another person.
  • Pink eyes in infants can be because of eye-flu infection, irritation, or a blocked tear duct. Sometimes bacteria or a virus is passed on from the mother during parturition, even if she does not have signs. The bacteria or virus may be linked to an STI. 

 If an infant has bacterial conjunctivitis of Chlamydia signs usually seen in 5 to 12 days after delivery. If the bacteria is due to gonorrhoea, they normally can be seen after 2 to 4 days.

Types of eye flu or conjunctivitis

There are 3 different types of eye flu, depending on the cause.

Viral conjunctivitis

  • Viral conjunctivitis is the most common cause of infectious conjunctivitis.
  • This infection is also more common in adults than in children. About 65–90% of eye flu infections are caused by adenovirus. Irregularly, herpes simplex or zoster virus is responsible. It is another general type of pink eye that is highly infectious as airborne viruses can be reached by sneezing and coughing.
  • Viral conjunctivitis can also follow common viral upper respiratory infections such as measles, the flu or the common cold. It further produces a fluid discharge. Typically the virus starts to enter in one eye and soon spreads to the other eye.
  • Treatment of viral conjunctivitis usually includes supportive therapies, such as eye drops, that assist to reduce the symptoms. Treatments normally are maintained for 1-2 weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
  • If there is a sign of herpes simplex or zoster virus then antivirals should be suggested as acyclovir ointment or ganciclovir gel.
  • When viral conjunctivitis is critical or the patient undergoing signs after its analysis, the patient should be referred to an ophthalmologist. This is to examine topical steroids and to eliminate an immune ‘post-viral’ keratitis.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

  • In this, a bacteria infect the eye by various sources of contamination. The bacteria can expand by contact with an infected person, exposure to infected surfaces or by other medians like sinus.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis normally creates a thick eye discharge or pus and can harm one or both eyes.
  • The usual types of bacteria that create bacterial conjunctivitis are Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Bacterial conjunctivitis, although a less common cause of conjunctivitis, is more common in children.
  •  Just like in any bacterial infection, antibiotics are needed to eliminate the bacteria. Medicine of bacterial conjunctivitis is usually achieved with a topical antibiotic like framycetin sulfate eye drops and eye ointments like Chloramphenicol. The treatment normally takes from 1-2weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.

Gonococcal conjunctivitis

  •  This conjunctivitis occurs by Neisseria gonorrhoeae is rare but should be recognised in neonates and sexually active young adults.
  • Antibiotic therapy is the prescribed therapy and ceftriaxone is the medication of choice
  • In addition , patients should cleanse the infected eye with saline and continue treatment to cover chlamydia. Or patients should go to an ophthalmologist straight away.

Chlamydial conjunctivitis

  • In the majority of the cases of chlamydial conjunctivitis are one-sided and have a concurrent genital infection.
  •  Signs normally involve conjunctival hyperemia, mucopurulent discharge and lymphoid follicle development. Patients with signs must-visit directly to an ophthalmologist.
  • Oral antibiotics like azithromycin or doxycycline are active treatment.

Allergic conjunctivitis

  • This red-eye caused by eye allergies is very familiar. Eye allergies can be triggered by allergens involving pollen, animal dander and dust insects.
  •  Allergic conjunctivitis can be seasonal or perennial depending on the allergen creating the reaction.
  •  The usual sign of allergic conjunctivitis is itchy eyes, which may be removed with special eye drops comprising antihistamines to manage allergic reactions.

Giant papillary conjunctivitis

  • This reddish eye normally affects both eyes and frequently harms soft contact lens wearers.
  • This state may give rise to contact lens intolerance, itching, a heavy discharge, tearing and red bumps on the bottom of the eyelids.
  •  You are required to stop wearing your contact lenses for some time. Your eye doctor may also suggest that you switch to a separate type of contact lens, to decrease the risk of conjunctivitis.

Diagnosis & test of eye flu

A physician can detect conjunctivitis by examining the signs and asking some questions related to eye irritation, redness, swelling etc. treatment for irritant and allergic conjunctivitis is separate from that for an infection.

Some patients  of infective conjunctivitis determine within a few days to 2 weeks without therapy , but few may take up to a month. For bacterial conjunctivitis, antibiotics can reduce recovery time and decrease the extent of infection to others.

If symptoms continue for 2 weeks or more, the patient should return to see their physician, who will reevaluate the diagnosis and improve the therapy.

The doctor may take a swab from the infected eye, for examination in a lab. Understanding what type of bacteria is creating the infection and suggesting proper treatment. But, most doctors do not do this examination.

Few facts of eye flu

  •  The eye-infection is generated by virus infection like adenovirus, herpes, simplex virus, myxovirus and pox virus.
  • The virus is highly infectious, so if somebody around you is infected there is a high chance of you getting contaminated. So take proper care to avoid the infection.
  •  There is a misconception that the virus spreads just by staring into the eyes of an infected person. But this is not true.
  • If somebody touches the infected eyes the fingers get infected and if these fingers come in contact with another person’s eyes he/she may get infected.
  • One may also get affected by a swimming pool.


The chance of catching or carrying on infective conjunctivitis can be overcome by:

  •  Not touching or stroking the eyes
  • Cleaning our fists regularly with suds and hot water, or applying disinfectants.
  •  Always take out contact lenses prior to sleeping
  •  Retaining eyeglasses clean
  • Not sharing private products such as towels and cushions, makeup and contacts with different people
  •  Using goggles in a swimming pool, and not swimming if you have an infection
  • Avoid swimming which has regular chlorination of water.
  •  Clean your eyes with fresh water 2-3 times a day.
  • Avoid using the same towel or handkerchief if used already.


  •  Largely in a few patients of infective conjunctivitis, the doctor proposes waiting as the eye infection resolves unaccompanied by treatment within 2 weeks. They may direct eye drops with decongestants or antihistamine to lower the signs of soreness and irritation.
  • Antibiotics will not work if in cases of viral, and even a bacterial infection may continue for a month with antibiotics. nonetheless , medicines may be advised if signs are critical.
  • The  frequently prescribed medicines for infective conjunctivitis are fluoroquinolones, sulfonamides, chloramphenicol etc.
  • Apply dark goggles.
  • Close your eyes and apply ice covered in a cloth covering the eyelids.
  • Apply anti-allergic eye drops 3 times a day.


  •  Contact lenses: Avoid applying lenses until at least 24 hours after antibiotic therapy finishes. Then throw away that lens and replace the lenses, lens case, and solution with a new one.
  • Artificial tear eye drops can be purchased over the counter (OTC) or online to assist reduce soreness and stickiness.
  •  A washcloth dipped in warm water can be applied several times a day, to mildly clean away any sticky elements. Do this lightly, to avoid burning the eyes. Use a clean washcloth for both eyes.

Home Remedy for Eye flu

  • Rosewater: cleaning eyes with rose water reduces eye infection. Apply two drops of rose water to the eyes and apply it twice daily.
  •  Hot water: cleaning the eye with the use of light hot water removes the dirt that gets collected above the eyes. Take out the hot water in a container and cool it lightly, and you can also wash your eyes directly with that warm water, which will bring out the dirt in the eye.
  •  Amla juice: Grind 3 to 4 gooseberry fruit powder and extract its juice. Drink that juice in a glass of water. Amla juice should be used on an empty stomach in the morning and twice a day before sleeping at night.
  • Use of honey and water: Mix 2 teaspoons of honey in a glass of water. Then hit the water in the open eyes with a sharp blow from your hand.
  • Spinach and carrot juice: Grind 4 or 5 leaves of spinach and squeeze its juice. Grind 2 carrots and extract the juice. Fill half a cup of water in a glass and drink carrot and spinach juice mixed in it. By doing this daily, eye infection starts to decrease. Spinach and carrot juice are very beneficial for eye infections as the vitamins found in them are very important for the eyes.
  •  Turmeric and hot water: Heat 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix that turmeric in a glass of warm water. Clean the eyes with the help of cotton. The eyes should be wiped with cotton after mixing turmeric in hot water.
  • Potatoes: Cut a potato into thin pieces. Put the chopped potato on your eyes for 10 minutes before sleeping at night, then remove it. Potato contains a high amount of starch, which  cures eye infection.


Eye Flu It is very frquent chiefly during the monsoon season. It is not dangerous and removes within a week or so without transmitting any indefinate harm to the eye. They can easily be eliminated if they wear dark goggles and apply anti-allergic eye drops 3 – 4 times a day as prescribed by a doctor.For preventing eye flu and for any eye surgery do visit our eye hospital in Delhi, it provides the best treatment for eyes. We offer various services like Retina Surgery, Specs Removal, Cataract Surgery, and much more.

This blog has been shared by EyeMantra, to raise awareness about the eye flu and its prevention and treatment tips.

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