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How to deal with conjunctivitis this Monsoon

It is not uncommon to see more than one family member to be suffering from same complaints as viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious. It spreads by contact as well as if the affected person has touched somewhere and then another person touches the same object or thing, says Dr Devanshi ShahConsultant, KJ Somaiya Hospital Superspeciality Centre.

Monsoon is here and so is conjunctivitis.

After the sweaty summers, rains bring respite from the scorching heat. However along comes the epidemic of various communicable diseases, one of which is conjunctivitis.

Conjunctiva is the transparent tissue lining the white part of the eye, and the inside of the eyelid. Inflammation of this tissue is conjunctivitis. This inflammation causes various symptoms such as itching, redness and watering. It can affect one or both the eyes.

Conjunctivitis can be allergic or infective in nature.

Allergic conjunctivitis may be caused due to smoke, pollens and allergens in the air or use ofcosmetics. Itching is the main complain by the patients suffering from allergic conjunctivitis.Avoiding the cause may mitigate most of the symptoms. Generally, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory eye drops are prescribed for the same. Sometimes contact lenses and solutions can cause something known as giant papillary conjunctivitis. In such case your doctor will advise you to stop wearing contact lenses for few days.

Infective conjunctivitis can be viral, bacterial or parasitic. Number of patients suffering from viral conjunctivitis goes up every year in rainy season mainly due to high humidity which promotes the rampant spread.

It is not uncommon to see more than one family member to be suffering from same complaints as viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious. It spreads by contact as well as if the affected person has touched somewhere and then another person touches the same object or thing. It’s a myth that conjunctivitis spreads from seeing the pink eye of the affected person. It spreads from eye-hand-eye contact rather than eye to an eye. Viral conjunctivitis is mostly caused by adenovirus or enteroviruses. Patients usually suffer from heaviness and pain in the eye, watering, redness, sticking of eyelashes especially early in the morning. Swollen eyelids are very common.

Depending on the severity, sometimes the cornea, which is the transparent part of the eyeball in the center, also gets affected causing blurry vision, glare and increased sensitivity to light. We call it SPK’S (superficial punctate keratitis).Some of these patients also have associated fever, rhinitis and pharyngitis, known as common cold.

Infective conjunctivitis can affect at any age. However, immunity plays an important role. Hence some people will have a milder course while others will suffer from a more fulminant disease.

If one is suffering from such complaints consulting ophthalmologist will gauge the severity and prescribe you with eye drops and eye ointments for the same.

Some Do’s and Don’ts 

  • Protective glasses or dark googles are advised to be worn during the ailment. It will prevent the constant urge of rubbing the eye and will increase the comfort level. Also it will prevent the spread of infection as the infectious fingers won’t infect other surfaces after wiping of eyes.
  • Put eye drops meticulously as prescribed by your ophthalmologist
  • Cornea can be involved later in the course of the disease. Thus, follow up with your ophthalmologist as advised.
  • Say no to self medication and over the counter drugs, as it delays the actual treatment and wrongly use of steroids can cause corneal ulcers and permanent damage to the vision.
  • Viral conjunctivitis is contagious. Avoid contact with the near and dear ones. Isolate your belongings. Use separate towels, napkins, pillow covers etc.
  • Use paper tissues instead of handkerchiefs to clean the eye.
  • Maintain hygiene
  • Avoid rubbing of eyes and touching table surface, door handles, bottles etc with your infected hand.
  • Avoid swimming pools, wearing of contact lens and sharing of cosmetics for the time being.

Prevention is the best cure

  • Avoid eating and drinking at unhygienic places.
  • Avoid hand shake, sharing towels and napkins with the infected person
  • Drink boiled and purified water
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Advice children to wash hands after playing outside.
  • Wash hands before eating.Avoid touching eyes with dirty hands.

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