Save Yourself from Conjunctivitis!

Conjunctivitis refers to the swelling of the conjunctiva — the thin membrane that lines the inside of eyelids and covers the surface of the eyeball. MC is a more acute infection, where the swelling is associated with the secretion of fibrin by invading micro organisms, which then coagulates, leading to the formation of a pseudomembrane.

How you can contract it

The micro organisms that cause conjunctivitis could be present in nasal secretions and eye discharge. You could get infected simply by touching the face or a used personal item of an infected person, and rubbing your own eyes without washing your hands. The first tell-tale signs can appear within a few days after you have contracted the infection. You will experience discomfort in the eyes and a gritty sensation inside the eyelids. Since the blood vessels get dilated, the patient’s eyes appear bloodshot.

High incidence this year 

A popular Retina specialist says MC has a seasonal predilection, and usually receives a boost when the weather is a mix of heat and intermittent rain. “”Sporadic spells of heat alternating with moisture provide fertile environment for MC-causing micro organisms to multiply.”” Poor personal hygiene and the city’s far from ideal sanitation have played contributors, say the experts.

Since it’s highly contagious, in most cases, MC eventually spreads to both eyes. Doctors pin down its spread to the four F’s: Finger (rubbing of eyes), flies, faeces and fomites (sharing of handkerchiefs and personal items).

Can it get complicated?

The formation of dot-like spots on the cornea (the dome-shaped window covering the front of the eye, with a powerful refracting surface that provides 2/3rd of the eye’s focusing power) could translate into permanent opacities, if treatment is not administered in time.

While bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotic eye drops, most episodes of viral conjunctivitis are self-limiting and have to be allowed to ease out on their own. A popular opthalmologist says, a higher incidence of MC caused by a viral infection is compounding the problem. A mix of anti-viral drugs and steroid eye drops are involved in the treatment, but potent steroids like Prednisolone provide symptomatic relief, and should be used with caution since they have ocular side effects (like rise of intraocular pressure that could lead to glaucoma).

Conjunctivitis v/s membranous conjunctivitis 

Simple conjunctivitis is characterized by red, sore eyes and takes nine days to heal. Membranous conjunctivitis is characterised by the formation of a membrane in the inner lining of the eyelid, and takes as long as 17 days to heal.

Can you avoid it? 

Observing good personal hygiene, washing your hands frequently with a medicated soap and not sharing towels or napkins act as preventive measures.

Once you contract it, then what? 

– Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water through the day.

– If using tissue to wipe eyes, discard after single use.

– Stay away from contact lenses while infection lasts. Buy a fresh pair of lenses once eyes have healed.

– Don’t share handkerchiefs, towels, napkins, tissues or any eye make-up.

– Don’t wipe your face or rub your eyes with unwashed hands or an soiled towel.

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