Conjunctivitis is inflammation of conjunctiva the outer layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. It is usually caused due to infection by virus or bacterial and in some cases allergy. However, the pupils should be normally reactive, and the visual acuity normal. Viral conjunctivitis occurs more frequently in the summer, and bacterial conjunctivitis occurs more often in the winter and spring. Read about Conjunctivitis commonly called as madras eye.
Classification is based on the causal agent of conjunctivitis. Following are the
- Allergic conjunctivitis caused by allergens such as pollen, perfumes, cosmetics, smoke] dust mites, and eye drops. Allergens differ among patients. Symptoms consist of redness mainly due to vasodilation of the peripheral small blood vessels, oedema (swelling) of the conjunctiva, itching, and increased lacrimation (production of tears). The symptoms are due to release of histamine and other active substances by mast cells, which stimulate dilation of blood vessels, irritate nerve endings, and increase secretion of tears.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis causes the rapid onset of conjunctival redness, swelling of the eyelid, and mucopurulent discharge. Typically, symptoms develop first in one eye, but may spread to the other eye within 2–5 days. Bacterial conjunctivitis due to common pyogenic (pus-producing) bacteria causes marked grittiness/irritation and a stringy, opaque, whitish or yellowish mucopurulent discharge that may cause the lids to stick together, especially after sleep.
- Viral conjunctivitis is often associated with an infection of the upper respiratory tract, a common cold, and/or a sore throat. Its symptoms include excessive watering and itching. The infection usually begins with one eye, but may spread easily to the other.
Signs and symptoms
- Redness of the white of your eye
- Pain in your eye, such as a burning sensation, throbbing or aching
- White or yellow discharge in your eyes – this may cause them to stick together in the morning and be difficult to open
- Blurry vision that clears on blinking caused by discharge around your eye
- A gritty feeling in your eye that may cause an itching or burning sensation
- Watery eyes
- Sensitivity to light, though this is usually mild
It is easily diagnosed by the symptoms of the eye. However it is advised to consult a doctor.
A patch test is used to diagnose it and identify the causative allergen
The best preventive step is to maintain cleanliness. Wash hands when contacted with any infected person. If allergic to some compounds stay away from those, if exposed contact physician immediately.
- If it is a bacterial infection doctor may prescribe some antibiotics.
- If it a viral infection usually it clears up in 1-2 weeks
- For Allergic conjunctivitis it is advised to know what it is causing and to stay away from it and wash your eyes with running water. Antihistamines are sometimes prescribed by ophthalmologists. This will help in giving relief from the symptoms.