During the monsoon season, conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye,” becomes a prevalent concern due to the damp and humid weather. These conditions create an ideal environment for bacteria and viruses to thrive, leading to this highly contagious eye infection. Rainwater accumulation in various places serves as a breeding ground for these pathogens, and people are more likely to come into contact with contaminated surfaces or water, increasing the risk of contracting conjunctivitis. Already, doctors in Delhi and nearby areas have reported a rise in the number of cases this year.
Conjunctivitis is a condition characterized by redness, itchiness, excessive tearing, and the formation of a sticky discharge around the eyes. It causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the clear tissue covering the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. The infection can affect one or both eyes. While some types of pink eye are highly contagious, others are not, as stated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
There are three main types of conjunctivitis: viral, bacterial, and allergic. Viral conjunctivitis is the most common and contagious type, often spreading through schools and crowded places. Bacterial conjunctivitis leads to a sticky puss in the eye, while allergic conjunctivitis results from an allergic reaction to various environmental factors but is not contagious.
Symptoms of pink eye include red eyes, a burning sensation, itchiness, and a feeling of something in the eye. Pain in the eye and puffy eyelids can also occur, leading to blurry or hazy vision.
Treatment for conjunctivitis mainly relies on the body’s natural defenses to fight viral infections. Good hygiene practices, avoiding touching the eyes with unwashed hands, and seeking prompt medical attention are essential to prevent the spread of conjunctivitis. It’s crucial not to share personal items like towels or eye makeup to avoid transmission.
To alleviate discomfort, placing a cool, wet cloth on the eyes can be helpful. In cases of bacterial infection, an ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops based on the severity of the symptoms. However, antibiotics are ineffective against viral or allergic conjunctivitis.
If the cause of conjunctivitis is exposure to a chemical or other substance, the eyes should be rinsed thoroughly to remove the irritant.