Conjunctivitis is an infection of the eyes which commonly causes redness, swollen eyelids, burning sensation and tearing. The sudden changes in the environmental condition favor viral/bacterial growth and thus, help in the rapid spread of the infection. However, it can be caused by various factors such as chemicals or due to allergic reaction. Did you know these 11 health hazards of watching too much TV?
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a clear thin tissue lining the inner surface of the eyelid lying over the white part of your eyes. Caused commonly due to an infection (which is usually viral, but sometimes bacterial), this condition can cause a lot of discomfort and looks unsightly too. Apart from virus or bacteria, conjunctivitis can be caused by various factors such as –
- Allergies: This includes allergy to pollen, dust mites or pets, eye drops or cosmetics or contact lenses.
- Chemicals: You can also be allergic to chemicals present in eye drops, which in turn causes infection in your eyes. Here’s how eyeliner, kajal and other eye make-up can harm you.
- Foreign object in the eye: It can be caused due to any foreign object such as dust particles which in turn causes irritation of the eye leading to reddening of the eye.
- Blocked tear ducts: In this condition, there is blockage of the tear duct which leads to inflammation of the eye.
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‘While there are many strains of the adenovirus, type 8 and 19 are the ones that mainly cause viral conjunctivitis. A change in the weather helps the virus thrive, thereby leading to the infection,’ said Dr Punita Parti, ophthalmologist at Sai Snehadeep Hospital in Koparkhairane.
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The top 10 common symptoms of conjunctivitis are –
- Redness of eye
- Swollen eyelids
- Burning eyes
- Eye drainage
- Crusty Eye
- Mild sensitivity to light
- Feeling the presence of ‘something’ in the eye
- Lymph nodes
- Cold or flu
Here is detailed information on symptoms of conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis can be diagnosed with the help of its symptoms or through carefully monitoring your eyes. A detailed eye examination such as evaluation of the conjunctiva, external eye tissue and inner structures of the eye aids in proper detection of the exact cause of the eye infection.
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While bacterial conjunctivitis easily responds to antibiotics, viruses are more resistant and may take weeks to get cured. ‘In the initial stage, only antibiotic drops and lubricant drops are prescribed. However, if the infection is severe and spreads to the cornea causing white spots, steroids are given. It has to be taken for longer peried of time, say 2-3 months otherwise the spots may not be cured completely,’ said Dr Ghorpade. ‘But only milder doses of steroids are prescribed to avoid side-effects,’ added Dr Parti.
Dr Amrita Sodhi, ophthalmologist, Advance Eye Hospital and Institute, Navi Mumbai says, ‘Antibiotic eye drops are normally prescribed for conjunctivitis caused due to bacteria and antiviral drugs for eye infection caused by Herpes Simplex Virus. However, anti- inflammatory, anti-histamine, decongestants or steroid eye drops are given for allergic type.’
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Here are few preventive measures to avoid conjunctivitis by our expert Dr Amrita –
- Do not share your towels with other people and keep all items of clothing that may come in contact with eyes separate as these may have secretions.
- It is important to wash your hands with a sanitizer or soap after touching the infected eyes. Read about 9 reasons you should think before using hand sanitizers.
- Put eye-drops on time as directed by the doctor.
- Don’t keep rubbing or touching your eyes frequently as it will lead to corneal abrasions.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses until your eyes feel better. Read about 10 dos and don’ts for contact lens care.
- Wear glares in order to prevent dust and dirt. Again, keep these away from children as contact spreads infection.
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The content has been verified by
Dr Amrita Sodhi
, ophthalmologist, Advance Eye Hospital and Institute, Navi Mumbai.