Eye Diseases
Conjunctivitis

What is conjunctivitis?

Inflammation in the eye lining, which is known as "conjunctiva", which affects one or both eyes. Spread and infection is rapid, and treatment is easy, and the disease affects individuals of all ages but increases in crowded places.

Symptoms:
Most important symptoms that may affect the eye include:
  • Redness and swelling of the conjunctiva;
  • Pain with itching as if there is an object inside the eye;
  • Eye discharge and tearing;
  • Sensitivity to light;
  • Difficulty opening the eyes when you wake up due to a dandruff-like membrane on the surface of the eye that formed as a result of discharge caused during night time.

It is advisable to see a doctor if any of these signs are present, to diagnose the cause of the inflammation so as to reduce the transmission of infection to the immediate surroundings, as it remains infectious for two weeks from the onset of symptoms.

Causes and risk factors:
  • A viral infection: usually accompanied by transparent discharge from the eye, sometimes after an infection of the upper respiratory tract.
  • A bacterial infection: a common cause, especially in children, and could affect adults, accompanied by relatively viscous secretions of greenish-yellow color. Here it is linked to a previous infection in the upper respiratory tract.
  • External factors: the entry of a foreign object or various chemicals into the eye may cause inflammation in the eye, often fading quickly within 24 hours after the external factor is removed.

Hence, risk factors for the development of conjunctivitis are: exposure to any of the possible factors of inflammation listed above, as well as the use of contact lenses in an unsafe manner.

Transmission:
  • It is transmitted from the respiratory tract by coughing or sneezing.
  • Shaking hands with an infected person.
  • Contact with surfaces contaminated with pathogens.
  • Rubbing the eye with a contaminated hand.
  • Shared use of personal objects such as towels.

Complications:
It is possible for the inflammation to spread to the cornea, which leads to blurred vision.  Early treatment and diagnosis can therefore reduce the risk of complications.

Diagnosis:
Conjunctivitis is diagnosed by a doctor by studying the symptoms and history, and then dismissing other diseases. A sample of eye discharge can be taken to accurately diagnose the contaminant and provide better treatment.

Prevention:
The following steps are recommended to avoid transmission to others:
  • Avoid eye contact with hands.
  • Wash your hands every now and again.
  • Do not share with others personal items, such as towels.
  • Change towels and pillowcases regularly.
  • Replace cosmetics used for the eye area such as mascara.
There is a common type of neonatal eye inflammation, called neonatal conjunctivitis caused by a bacterium found in the birth canal. This bacterial infection is dangerous and can cause vision damage, so every newborn receives preventive treatment in the hospital using a medical ointment.

Treatment:
  • Viral infection:  Its symptoms can last up to 10 days, and then fade on its own. Treatment is conservative in this case, and can help relieve symptoms by: cold compresses, moisturizing drops, avoiding the use of contact lenses during the disease period. 
  • Bacterial infection: Viral treatment methods are followed in addition to the use of antibacterial drops prescribed by a doctor.

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Last Update : 22 March 2021 07:13 AM
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