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The incidence of conjunctivitis - popularly known as 'Madras Eye'- is rising rapidly, number of cases in is increasing steadily this summer. Due to the dry summer-like weather has led to an increase in the pink eye condition with 8 to 10 cases being reported every day and hence Conjunctivitis cases have risen in the last few days says " Dr. Archana S, Senior Consultant, cataract, Cornea & Refractive Surgery Dr. Agarwal's Eye Hospital, Bengaluru.
She added that while conjunctivitis is usually a minor eye infection, it can develop into a more serious problem, if not diagnosed correctly and treated promptly. Hence, people should avoid self-medication and consult an eye specialist for correct diagnosis. Every day for past couple of weeks, the dry weather leaves one more prone to allergic infection and infection upon contact spreads fast in bacterial conjunctivitis.
Dr. Archana S, Senior Consultant, cataract, Cornea & Refractive Surgery Dr. Agarwal's Eye Hospital, Bengaluru said that the disease is usually a viral or bacterial infection of the conjunctiva – the thin, protective membrane that covers the surface of the eyeball. But not all conjunctivitis are infectious. Allergic conjunctivitis results from the allergy to pollen or dust. Nearly 90% of all conjunctivitis is caused by adenovirus. "The affected eye is red, itchy, irritated and gritty, and produces a watery discharge similar to tears. In some people, it quickly spreads to the second eye as well, I see at least five new patients with this problem every day. Many come after trying antibiotics from the drug store, but since it's caused by a virus, antibiotics don't work," she said.
The common symptoms of conjunctivitis are irritation, watering, red eyes, sticky discharge, and sensitivity to light. But when the cornea - the layer on the black part of the eye - is infected, it can result in blurred vision. In rare cases, blood can start dripping from the swollen eyes, a condition known as acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis.
Dr. Archana S said that conjunctivitis is a highly contagious infection. It can easily spread from one person to another by personal belongings like towels, pillow covers, and makeup items. Hence isolation of patients is important. Infected patients should only use paper napkins to wipe out any discharge from their eyes and dispose the napkins immediately. They should discard old contact lenses and start using the new ones only after consulting the doctors. Patients should not use regular, reusable handkerchiefs. They should wash their hands frequently and should not let others use their personal belongings to prevent the contagion.
Since conjunctivitis spreads rapidly in closed environments like schools and offices, people should not venture out until the watery discharge is completely stopped.