Conjunctivitis: Should I attend the Emergency Eye Department at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital?

Conjunctivitis is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies. It usually gets better in a couple of weeks without treatment.Conjunctivitis is also known as red or pink eye. It usually affects both eyes and makes them:

  • bloodshot
  • burn or feel gritty
  • produce pus that sticks to lashes
  • itch
  • water

The majority of red sticky eyes in non-contact lens wearers, where there is no preceding history, no trauma and no significant pain, and minimal effect on your vision is due to simple ‘conjunctivitis’ which is self-limiting and does not require to be seen by an ophthalmologist at a hospital or your GP.

Treatment can be obtained from a pharmacy or optometrist or over the counter and would usually simply comprise frequent eye lubricants (artificial tears) and cold compresses and the condition usually resolves with 7 to 14 days.

To find out more about how to self-care and treat conjunctivitis visit

When to seek help

If you are a contact lens wearer then please either contact your optometrist for an urgent appointment or attended the emergency eye department.

If in addition you have significant pain or reduced vision then please attend the emergency department as normal when appropriate treatment will be given or you may be asked to attend an appointment at a later date.

Thank you for your support and cooperation.

Dr Manisha Kumar, Medical Director, Manchester Health and Care Commissioning
David Regan, Director of Population Health, Nursing and Safeguarding, Manchester Health and Care Commissioning
Bill Newman, Medical Director, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
Matt Jinkinson, Chair Greater Manchester Local Eye Health Network, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

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