Rising mercury levels, pollution lead to spike in conjunctivitis cases in Chennai

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the top transparent layer of the eye that can occur due to viral infection or some form of allergy.
Rising mercury levels, pollution lead to spike in conjunctivitis cases in Chennai
Representative image (File Photo)

CHENNAI: Over the past one month there has been a general rise in the number of patients suffering from conjunctivitis in Chennai. Doctors say that the rise could be due to various factors such as infection, allergy, or some other forms of inflammation.

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the top transparent layer of the eye that can occur due to viral infection or some form of allergy. "What is commonly known as “madras eye” is nothing but an adenoviral conjunctivitis. It can spread through watery secretions coming out of the eyes. Patients suffer from redness, watery discharge and foreign body sensation. Allergic conjunctivitis is more common in children, but can also be present in adults. Here, the secretions are sticky and cause a foreign body sensation within the eyes of the patients," says Dr Srikanth Ramasubramanian, Ophthalmologist at Apollo Spectra Hospital.

"If an individual has been diagnosed with infective conjunctivitis, it is better that he isolates himself from other family members and colleagues to prevent its spread."

"Frequent hand washing also helps in reducing the transmission of the virus. It is also advised to keep their personal belongings separately for the duration of this condition. Wearing a dark glass or sunglass helps in reducing the symptoms of photophobia induced by this infection. It does not reduce the transmission rate," he added.

Ophthalmologists say that the extreme heat weather conditions usually lead to conjunctivitis. Dr Srinivasan G Rao, Senior Ophthalmologist & Regional Head of Clinical Services at Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital says that the rise in temperature during summer coupled with pollution and other allergens can cause inflammation that causes conjunctivitis. Several symptoms that can occur due to infection include redness of the eyes, itching, and pain, which can progress over time.

Doctors suggest tear substitutes to be used copiously to reduce the impact of infective conjunctivitis and to treat allergic conjunctivitis, it is advised that the children wear protective glasses and do frequent cold compresses.

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