With the monsoon season comes an array of viral and bacterial infections, taking advantage of the increased humidity and dampness. This year is no different as we witness a nationwide upsurge in cases of ‘Conjunctivitis,’ commonly known as ‘Pink Eye.’ Conjunctivitis, characterized by the inflammation of the conjunctiva—a thin mucous membrane covering the white part of the eye and the inner eyelids—can be triggered by various factors such as viral or bacterial infections, allergies, parasitic infestation, or exposure to certain chemicals. Among the types of conjunctivitis, ‘Follicular Conjunctivitis,’ caused by specific viruses like adenovirus, is particularly prevalent during this season.
Since the beginning of July 2023, L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) has reported close to 1000 cases of conjunctivitis diagnosed and treated across its network centers in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha.
“While follicular conjunctivitis can be uncomfortable, it is not typically vision-threatening, and most cases resolve without lasting effects. However, timely treatment and proper care are crucial to prevent complications. It can affect individuals of all ages, but young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems may be more vulnerable to this condition,” advises Dr. Muralidhar Ramappa, Cornea Consultant at LV Prasad Eye Institute.
Doctor’s Advice: If you experience any symptoms of conjunctivitis, seek prompt medical care to prevent complications. Taking proper precautions and diligently adhering to prescribed treatments, while practicing good hygiene, can help protect your eyes and prevent the spread of infection to others. It is important to avoid the indiscriminate use of antibiotics and steroids, using them only under the guidance of a healthcare professional when deemed necessary.
Conjunctivitis, being highly contagious, demands attention to prevent further transmission. With symptoms like redness, itching, excessive eye discharge, and sensitivity to light, individuals should remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to avoid contact with others, especially during the monsoon season when such infections are more prevalent.
As conjunctivitis cases rise across the nation, awareness and timely action are key to tackling the situation. By following medical advice, practicing good hygiene, and taking precautions to limit the spread, we can collectively mitigate the impact of conjunctivitis during this monsoon season. As always, consulting with healthcare professionals ensures the best care and management of the condition, ensuring a speedy recovery and reducing the risk of complications.
Types of Follicular Conjunctivitis
- Sore throat with conjunctivitis known as ‘Pharyngo-conjunctival-fever (PCF)’: It is often mild and commonly seen in children and young adults who recently had a cold or respiratory infection. Most of the cases we are seeing currently are of PCF.
- Advanced conjunctivitis known as Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis: It is less common and can be severe, affecting the front of the eye (cornea) and may cause long-lasting vision difficulties.
Precautions that can be taken to curb its spread:
- Conjunctivitis is contagious, so the infected person should isolate themselves from other family members and the community.
- Additional precautions to prevent its spread include frequent handwashing, avoiding touching the eyes, and refraining from sharing personal items.
- Excessive eye discharge
- Sensitivity to light
- In some cases, it can result in fever and mild throat pain
Treatment options vary based on the type and cause of the condition. They may include supportive therapy, warm compresses, lubricating eye drops, and analgesics to relieve discomfort or inflammation. Additionally, avoiding wearing contact lenses and gently cleaning eye discharge with a soft, damp cloth is recommended during treatment. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics and steroids should be avoided and used only under the guidance of a healthcare professional when necessary.