Conjunctivitis is a highly infectious eye disease. It is an inflammation of the thin, transparent sheet that covers the white of the eye, or sclera, and the inner side of the lids. The sclera is covered by a thin filmy membrane called the conjuntiva, that produces mucus to coat and lubricate the eye. It has fine blood vessels running through it. These become prominent when the eye is infected, making the eye blood shot.
Though the disease is normally not dangerous, delay in proper treatment may lead to ulceration of the cornea and permanent corneal opacity, leading to impaired vision. Conjunctivitis starts quite suddenly and can become severe within four to six hours. Children below 5 years are more prone to this infection.
Conjunctivitis is an infection that may be caused by bacteria, fungus or virus.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Irritation in one or both eyes
- Reddening in the eye
- Swollen eye lids
- Watery or thin mucus discharge from the eye. It later turns into a thick white or yellowish-white discharge
- Difficulty in opening the eye, especially in the morning Straining of the eyes in bright light
Diagnosis and Treatment:
- Conjunctivitis is highly infectious. The germs can spread even by a simple handshake, dirty towels, clothes, used water or kajal stick. Flies also carry infection.
- If the correct treatment is started early, the disease can be cured in four to seven days. Patients do not require hospitalisation.
- Take care of personal cleanliness and keep the surroundings clean
- Towels, handkerchiefs, and clothes of the infected person should not be used by any one else. They should be washed separately in hot water.
- Avoid over-crowded places like cinema halls.
- Do not send children suffering from conjunctivitis to school.
- If you are already infected, use sunglasses to protect the eyes from direct sun.
- Avoid bathing and swimming in pools or ponds when conjunctivitis is spreading in your area.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after touching it to the eye.
- Splash your eyes with clean water, three to four times a day.
- Consult a doctor immediately when the symptoms appear. Rest for three to four hours.
- Conjunctivitis cannot be contracted by just looking at the eyes of an infected person.