The Summer Guide to Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye,” is a common eye condition that affects people of all ages. It is characterized by redness, itching, and swelling of the conjunctiva, which is the clear tissue that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacterial or viral infections, allergies, or irritants. 

While conjunctivitis can occur at any time of the year, it is more prevalent in the summer months due to a variety of environmental factors. In this article, we will explore why conjunctivitis is more common in the summer and what steps you can take to prevent and treat it. 

What are the symptoms of conjunctivitis?

  1. Redness: One of the most noticeable symptoms of conjunctivitis is redness in the eye. The blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed and dilated, giving the eye a pink or red appearance. 
  2. Itching: Conjunctivitis caused by allergens or irritants can cause intense itching in the eye. This can lead to rubbing or scratching, which can worsen the condition. 
  3. Burning or stinging: Some people with conjunctivitis may experience a burning or stinging sensation in the eye, particularly when exposed to bright light. 
  4. Discharge: Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria or viruses can cause discharge from the eye. The discharge may be clear or thick and yellow or green in color. 
  5. Sensitivity to light: In some cases, conjunctivitis can cause sensitivity to light (photophobia). This can make it difficult to go outside during the day or even be in a well-lit room. 
  6. Blurred vision: In severe cases of conjunctivitis, the eye may become inflamed enough to cause blurred vision. This can be a sign of a more serious condition, so it is important to seek medical attention right away if you experience blurred vision. 

It is important to note that not all cases of conjunctivitis will present with all of these symptoms, and some people may experience symptoms that are not listed here. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away to determine the cause of the condition and to receive appropriate treatment. 


Causes of Conjunctivitis in the Summer 

There are several reasons why conjunctivitis is more common in the summer. One of the primary causes is increased exposure to allergens. Pollen from trees, grass, and weeds is a common allergen that can cause allergic conjunctivitis. This type of conjunctivitis is characterized by redness, itching, and swelling of the eyes, as well as tearing and a clear discharge. Other allergens that can cause conjunctivitis in the summer include mold, pet dander, and dust mites. 


Another cause of conjunctivitis in the summer is exposure to irritants. Dust, dirt, and pollution are common irritants that can cause conjunctivitis. These irritants can be found outdoors, as well as indoors in areas with poor ventilation, such as basements or attics. 

Swimming is another factor that can contribute to conjunctivitis in the summer. Chlorine is a common disinfectant used in swimming pools to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. While chlorine is effective in keeping pools clean, it can also be an irritant to the eyes. Chlorine can cause conjunctivitis, as well as other eye problems, such as dryness and irritation. 

Finally, conjunctivitis can spread more easily in the summer due to increased social gatherings. Summer is a time for outdoor events, such as barbecues and picnics, where people are more likely to be in close contact with one another. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can spread through contact with an infected person’s tears, eye discharge, or personal items like towels or pillows. 

Prevention of Conjunctivitis in the Summer

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent conjunctivitis in the summer.  

  1. First and foremost, it is important to avoid or limit exposure to allergens and irritants. This can be accomplished by staying indoors during peak pollen times, keeping windows and doors closed, and using air conditioning to filter out allergens and irritants. 
  2. If you do go outside, wearing sunglasses can help protect your eyes from dust, pollen, and other irritants. Look for sunglasses with wraparound frames that provide additional coverage for the eyes. 
  3. When swimming, it is important to wear goggles to protect your eyes from chlorine and other pool chemicals. Goggles can also help prevent conjunctivitis caused by bacteria and other microorganisms that can live in swimming pools. 
  4. It is also important to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of conjunctivitis. Avoid sharing personal items like towels or pillows, and wash your hands frequently, especially if you have been in contact with someone who has conjunctivitis. 

Treatment of Conjunctivitis

If you do develop conjunctivitis in the summer, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Your doctor can determine the cause of the conjunctivitis and prescribe the appropriate treatment. 

If the conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment to clear up the infection. It is important to use the medication exactly as prescribed and for the full duration of the treatment, even if your symptoms improve. 

If the conjunctivitis is caused by a viral infection, antibiotics will not be effective. However, your doctor may recommend using artificial tears or a cold compress to help relieve your symptoms. In most cases, viral conjunctivitis will clear up on its own within a week or two. 

If the conjunctivitis is caused by an allergy, your doctor may recommend using antihistamine eye drops or taking oral antihistamines to relieve your symptoms. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend allergy shots to help reduce your sensitivity to allergens. 

Regardless of the cause of the conjunctivitis, it is important to avoid touching your eyes as much as possible, as this can aggravate the condition and spread it to others. 


In conclusion, conjunctivitis is a common eye condition that can be especially prevalent during the summer months due to increased exposure to allergens, irritants, and bacteria. It can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as redness, itching, burning, discharge, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent conjunctivitis, such as avoiding allergens and irritants, wearing protective eyewear, and practicing good hygiene. If you do develop conjunctivitis, it is important to seek medical attention right away to determine the cause of the condition and to receive appropriate treatment. 

Remember, taking care of your eyes is important all year round, not just during the summer months. If you experience any symptoms of conjunctivitis or have concerns about your eye health, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or an eye care professional. By staying vigilant and taking steps to protect your eyes, you can help ensure that you can enjoy all that summer has to offer without the discomfort of pink eye. 

About The Author

Dr. Hannah is a highly-skilled and compassionate physician who completed her medical degree at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2014. She passed the Physician Licensure Exam in 2015, and has since gained experience working in various hospitals and clinics throughout Metro Manila. For three years, she served as a physician on duty at a dialysis institute, caring for patients with chronic lifestyle diseases. 


As a primary care physician, Dr. Hannah is dedicated to providing patient-centered care that takes into account the whole person, not just their illness. She believes in empowering her patients to take an active role in their healthcare, and believes that this type of doctor-patient relationship is key to achieving optimal health. 

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