What is conjunctivitis and what causes it?
Conjunctiva is a thin mucous membrane covering the inside of the eyelid and sclera (the white of the eye). Inflammation of the conjunctiva is called conjunctivitis. It may be acute, which is more pronounced symptoms or chronic, where most cases have a poor clinical picture.
The most common causes of conjunctivitis are:
- Bacterial infection;
- Viral infection;
- Foreign body in the eye;
- Irritation of the eyes with chemical substances;
- Dry eye due to lack of tears;
- Incomplete opening of the tear channel (affects babies and children).
In certain cases, conjunctivitis could be in the form of a chronic systemic disease.
Is the redness of the eye always the result of conjunctivitis?
The eye may be red due to the blood in the conjunctiva or undershot due to increased blood flow in blood vessels of the eye.
Undershot of the blood may occur due to certain diseases (diabetes, arterial hypertension), failure or due to increased stress (intense coughing, constipation), while increasing eye redness often due to inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis, keratitis, iridocyclitis, etc.)
That is, not every eye redness is caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva, but in case of conjunctivitis, redness is one of the symptoms.
How to recognize conjunctivitis?
Symptoms vary depending on the cause that causes the inflammation. Mostly, conjunctivitis is manifested by:
- Flushed eye (conjunctiva hyperemia);
- Sensation of itching, tingling or scratching in the eye;
- Closed eyelids spontaneously difficult to open (blepharospasm);
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia);
- Increased lacrimation (epiphora);
- Increased amount of secretions (serous, mucous, purulent or bloody rare cases).
Is conjunctivitis contagious?
Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria and viruses is contagious and can be easily transmitted. The most common way of transmission of the infection is through direct contact or using the same items with an infected person, and rarely through coughing or sneezing.
Conjunctivitis that has no infectious etiology is not contagious.
What is the treatment for conjunctivitis?
Treatment of conjunctivitis may be etiological – directed to treatment of the cause or symptomatic – directed towards treating the symptoms.
In mild conjunctivitis in order to alleviate the symptoms, it is recommended to place coatings of chamomile or 3% solution of boric acid.
If the cause is a bacterial infection, it is necessary to apply a topical antibiotic in the form of fat droplets or, in rare cases provide systemic antibiotic. In viral conjunctivitis it is not required to apply the antibiotics sufficient for the symptomatic treatment. For allergic conjunctivitis you need to take drugs that help control the allergic reactions such as antihistamines, corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs. Irritation in the eye with chemicals requires an ophthalmological examination.
How to prevent the emergence of conjunctivitis?
The best “cure” for any disease is prevention. Therefore, to reduce the risk of conjunctivitis, apply the following tips:
- Regularly maintain hand hygiene;
- Do not touch your eyes with dirty hands;
- Replace the hand towel every day;
- Do not borrow your cloth to others;
- Replace the casing on the pillow every 3 days;
- Keep your makeup brushes clean;
- Do not borrow your makeup.
If you have conjunctivitis, throw the eye makeup you used previously in order to prevent recurrence of the infection.