CHENNAI: Over the past month, there has been a general rise in the number of patients with conjunctivitis in the city.
Doctors say that the rise in the incidence of conjunctivitis in Chennai is due to factors such as infection, allergy, or 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 we call ‘Madras eye’ is nothing but an adenoviral conjunctivitis. It can spread through the watery secretions coming out of the eyes. Patients will have redness in the eye, watery discharge and foreign body sensation,” says Dr Srikanth Ramasubramanian, ophthalmologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital.
Allergic conjunctivitis is more common in children but can also present in adults as well. “The secretions are sticky and causes a foreign body sensation within the eyes of the patients,” he adds. “If an individual has been diagnosed with infective conjunctivitis, it’s better to isolate from other family members and colleagues to prevent the spread of infection.”
Use tear substitutes copiously to reduce the impact of infective conjunctivitis. To treat allergic conjunctivitis, children must wear protective glasses and do frequent cold compresses.
Frequent hand washing helps in reducing the transmission of the virus. Keep your personal belongings separately from the patient until the infection heals.
“Wearing a dark glass or sunglass helps in reducing the symptoms of photophobia induced by this infection. It does not reduce the transmission rates,” points out Dr Srikanth.
Dr Srinivasan G Rao, senior ophthalmologist, 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.