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Conjunctivitis - How You Can Deal With It?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ravi Thadani 91% (858 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Ophthalmology
Ophthalmologist, Delhi  •  38 years experience
Conjunctivitis - How You Can Deal With It?

One of the most contagious infections to affect children and adults is conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. This makes the blood vessels of the eye more visible and turns the white part of the eye pinkish. This condition can be caused by a number of factors such as exposure to bacteria or viruses, allergens and irritants. Treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the cause of the condition.

The first step towards treating this disease is to correctly diagnose it. Some of the symptoms that can be noticed are:

  1. Redness in the white of the eye
  2. Itchiness and burning in the eye
  3. Discharge from the eye
  4. Crusting of the eyelids
  5. Increased sensitivity to light

If you notice any of these symptoms persisting for over a few days, consult a doctor immediately. There are two aspects to dealing with conjunctivitis; preventing the infection from spreading and reducing the infection. Here are a few tips to help stop the infection from spreading.

  1. Stop wearing contact lenses. While the infection persists, wear spectacles instead. Once your eyes have healed, dispose of the old contacts lenses and solution and get yourself a new pair.
  2. Wash your hands often. This is especially important if you have touched your eyes and will prevent the infection from spreading.
  3. Avoid sharing contact lenses, eye makeup and other forms of makeup along with makeup brushes.
  4. Avoid rubbing your eyes. Often conjunctivitis can affect only one eye at a time. Keeping yourself from rubbing or touching the infected eye will keep the infection from spreading to the other eye.
  5. Remove the discharge from around your eye every few hours with a clean cotton swab. Throw the swab away after it has been used once and wash your hands with soap and water before touching anything else.
  6. Avoid using swimming pools and hot tubs.
  7. Wash towels. Pillow cases, sheets and other things that come in regular contact with your eyes every few days with hot water to disinfect them.

In most cases of infective conjunctivitis, antibiotics are not needed. Instead lubricant eye drops are prescribed that are available over the counter. This can help ease soreness and stickiness in the eye. When using lubricant eye drops, do not let the dropper touch the infected eye and do not use the same eye drops for both eyes. Untreated conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotics such as chloramphenicol and fusidic acid. These antibiotics can have a few side effects such as blurred vision and hence you must avoid driving and operating heavy machinery after using them. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ophthalmologist.

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