Sore Eyes
Infectious conjunctivitis, or “sore eyes” as it is known in the Philippines, is an inflammation of the tissue that covers the eyes and lines the inside of eyelids due to a viral or bacterial infection. This illness makes the eyes itch, tear up, swell, become red, and get painful.
Last Updated: February 25, 2024

Infectious conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are several viruses which can cause conjunctivitis, including adenoviruses (most common), herpes simplex virus, varicella zoster virus, and molluscum contagiosum virus. Another common cause is a bacterial infection, which is more common in children. These germs usually get spread by touching the eyes after touching objects contaminated by the viruses or bacteria. In addition, bacteria can also be spread from one person to another through sexual contact or from a mother to her baby during childbirth.

Symptoms of “sore eyes” include: • teary eyes • redness of the eyes • swelling of the eyelids • itching or burning eyes • eye discharge (watery if viral, pus-like if bacterial) • increased sensitivity to light • swollen lymph nodes

The illness is diagnosed by asking for a person’s symptoms and health history and by conducting an eye exam. Some doctors may also take a sample of the eye discharge, if present, and check it for signs of infection. In most cases, especially if the conjunctivitis is viral, the disease should go away on its own; antibiotic eye drops are also not needed. However, in some cases, a person may receive antiviral treatment or antibiotics depending on the specific organism causing the conjunctivitis.

To help prevent the spread of “sore eyes”, a person should: • practice good hand hygiene • avoid sharing personal items (e.g. towels, eye drops) with others
Last Updated: February 25, 2024