An easy guide to prevent and manage conjunctivitis

Image Credits: Photo by Myburgh Roux from Pexels

Conjunctivitis is usually referred to as the inflammation of conjunctiva, which is the clear membrane or coating of tissues over the white area of the eye and inner surface of eyelids.

Types of conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis can be caused by either microbial infections or any foreign substance or allergens. 

Depending on the source, the different types of conjunctivitis are: 

Viral Conjunctivitis

This is the most common and highly contagious form of conjunctivitis and is usually caused by a type of virus known as adenovirus, which is responsible for causing common colds.

Symptoms

  • Pink colored eye 
  • Watery discharge from the eye 
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Symptoms of common cold like runny or stuffy nose 

Treatment /Management

  • It is recommended to visit a doctor on feeling symptoms of viral conjunctivitis 
  • The symptoms of viral conjunctivitis usually disappear in a week or more time
  • Applying cold/hot compresses and lubricating drops in the affected eye can provide comfort

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Usually caused by bacterial infection in conjunctiva.

Symptoms

  • Red or pink colored eyes
  • Thick discharge from eyes, which can be yellow or green in color
  • Presence of stickiness in eyelids, particularly after sleeping
  • Presence of some crusty deposits on the eye lashes, due to drying of the thick discharge
  • Mild to moderate pain and discomfort
  • Itchiness and irritation

Treatment /Management

  • It is recommended to visit an eye doctor on feeling symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis
  • The antibiotics ointment or eye drops are usually prescribed by the doctor and shall be taken regularly till the completion of recommended course or duration, even if the symptoms disappear

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Usually caused by allergic reactions which can be triggered by pollen, dust or any other irritants.

Symptoms

  • Watery and swollen red eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Feeling the presence of an irritating sand like particle in eyes

Treatment /Management

  • It is recommended to visit an eye doctor on feeling symptoms
  • Identify the possible allergen or the irritation causing agent and try to avoid it
  • Over-the-counter antihistamine drops or tablets can provide relief from itching and redness
  • Cold compresses can help in reducing discomfort
  • Lubricating drops can provide soothing relief and help in flushing out irritants from the eyes

General tips to prevent and manage conjunctivitis 

  • Avoid touching the eyes or nearby areas
  • Maintain good hand hygiene and wash hands regularly
  • Avoid sharing towels, pillows and other personal items like lenses, eye make-up, tissues etc.
  • Avoid swimming in pools or stagnated water bodies
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses during conjunctivitis 
  • Avoid using eye make-up during conjunctivitis
  • Avoid using antibiotic eyedrops without consultation with your doctor

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