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Eye Discharge or Conjunctivitis Information and Treatment

Conjunctivitis is an infection caused by bacteria and viruses. This condition occurs in the subcontinent summer months during the heat and humidity of the great Indian plains. It occurs inepidemic proportions during the season. Conjunctivitis is one of the most common and treatable eye infections in children and adults. Often called "pink eye," it is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid. This tissue helps keep the eyelid and eyeball moist. When conjunctivitis occurs in babies younger than 4 weeks old, it is called neonatal conjunctivitis or ophthalmia neonatorum. This can be caused by a blocked tear duct, which can be treated by gentle massage between the eye and nasal area.

Precipitating Factors of Eye Discharge

1. Shortage of water in urban areas.
2. Over-crowding in shanty towns.
3. Poor quality hygiene and sanitation.
4. Flies and more flies.
5. Open sanitation.
6. Swirling dust storms.

Symptoms of Eye Discharge or Conjunctivitis

List of some symptoms of Conjunctivitis

  • Mostly both eyes are affected, but often one starts before the other.

  • The eye is red, with the blood vessels over the white of the eye more visible and swollen. The lining of the eyelids also looks redder or pinker than usual.

  • The eye is sticky, with a discharge, which is worse when you wake up.

  • The eye is itchy or painful.

  • Sometimes people do not like to be in bright light (photophobia).

More common sign and symptoms of Conjunctivitis:

  • Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid

  • Greater amount of tears

  • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep (in conjunctivitis caused by bacteria)

  • Other discharge from your eye (green or white)

  • Itchy eyes (especially in conjunctivitis caused by allergies)

  • Burning eyes (especially in conjunctivitis caused by chemicals and irritants)

  • Blurred vision

  • Increased sensitivity to light

What can I do to help relieve symptoms?

Protect your eyes from dirt and other irritating substances.

Remove contact lenses, if you wear them.

Place cold compresses on your eyes.

Wash your face and eyelids with mild soap or baby shampoo and rinse with water to remove irritating substances.

Cause of Eye Discharge or Conjunctivitis

The commonest cause of Conjunctivitis is infection with bacteria. Allergic reactions, eg hayfever , may cause conjunctivitis, but do not usually cause a sticky discharge. Conjunctivitis may be triggered by a virus, bacteria, an allergic reaction (to dust, pollen, smoke, fumes or chemicals) or, in the case of giant papillary conjunctivitis, a foreign body on the eye, typically a contact lens. Bacterial and viral systemic infections also may induce conjunctivitis. Irritant conjunctivitis can be caused by chemicals such as those in chlorine and soaps or air pollutants such as smoke and fumes.

Clinical Features of Eye Discharge or Conjunctivitis

1. Swollen eyelids, inability to open eyes.
2. Red painful eyes, gritty sensation.
3. Persistent yellow crusty discharge.
4. Low-grade fever may be present.

Treatment of Eye Discharge or Conjunctivitis

1. Wash the eyes as frequently as possible.
2. Clean the eyelids with a soft cloth soaked in warm water at least three times daily. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in the water.
3. Consult a doctor for antibiotic eye drops.

Prevention Tips

You are more prone to conjunctivitis after a cold, but anyone can pick it up. Certainly it is important to avoid spreading the germs, and anyone with conjunctivitis, and those treating them, should be scrupulous about washing their hands after touching the eyes, and disposing of tissues straight into the bin.

1. Do not share the towel of other family members.
2. Always wash hands with soap after touching the eyes.
3. Keep nails well trimmed.
4. Beware of the flies inside and outside the house

How can I prevent spreading the infection?

Don't touch or rub the infected eye(s).

Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.

Wash any discharge from your eyes twice a day using a fresh cotton ball or paper towel. Afterwards, discard the cotton ball and wash your hands with soap and warm water.

Wash your bed linens, pillowcases, and towels in hot water and detergent.

Avoid wearing eye makeup.

Don't share eye makeup with anyone else.

Never wear another person's contact lens.

Wear glasses instead of contact lenses. Throw away disposable lenses or be sure to clean extended wear lenses and all eyewear cases.

Avoid sharing common articles such as unwashed towels, cups, and glasses.

Wash your hands after applying the eye drops or ointment to your eye or your child's eye.

Do not use eye drops in a non-infected eye that were used for an infected one.

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