Conjunctivitis – Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Conjunctivitis is commonly name is pink eye. It is is an infection of the conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is a membrane that covers the sclera (white part of the eye) and lines the inside of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis can be caused by infections (such as bacteria and viruses), allergies, or substances that irritate the eyes. Three major agents associated with follicular conjunctivitis, preauricular adenopathy, and superficial keratitis are adenovirus, chlamydia, and herpes simplex. Conjunctiva is a loose connective tissue that covers the surface of the eyeball (bulbar conjunctiva) and reflects back upon itself to form the inner layer of the eyelid. Inflammation of this membrane is called conjunctivitis. Its common name, pink eye, can refer to all forms of conjunctivitis, or just to its contagious forms. Sometimes a substance in the environment can irritate the eyes and cause pinkeye; for example, chemicals (such as chlorine and soaps) and air pollutants (such as smoke and fumes). Newborns are particularly susceptible to pinkeye and can be more prone to serious health complications. If a baby is born to a mother who has an STD, during delivery the bacteria or virus can pass from the birth canal into the baby’s eyes, causing pinkeye.

Many babies are born with a narrow or blocked tear duct, a condition which usually clears up on its own. Sometimes, though, it can lead to conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is extremely common. Conjunctivitis is the most common cause of red eye. Conjunctivitis is considered extremely common in the United States. Three percent of all ED visits are ocular related, and conjunctivitis is responsible for approximately 30% of all eye complaints. Approximately 15% of the population will have an allergic conjunctivitis episode at some time.Conjunctivitis typically is a self-limited process; however, depending on the immune status of the patient and the etiology, conjunctivitis can progress to increasingly severe and sight-threatening infections.First is Purulent bacterial conjunctivitis in the neonate usually is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This type of conjunctivitis can be invasive and can lead to rapid corneal perforation. Secondly Chlamydial conjunctivitis can lead to conjunctival scarring (cicatrix) that can be severe enough to cause lid derangement and ingrown eyelashes. Chlamydial pneumonia can occur in infants up to 6 months after their conjunctivitis.

Causes of Conjunctivitis

1.Fungus.

2.Keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

3.Viral conjunctivitis.

4.Allergic conjunctivitis.

5.Vernal conjunctivitis.

6.Trachoma.

7.Neonatal conjunctivitis.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

1.Watery discharge

2. Irritation

3. Red eye

4.Itching

5.Tearing

6.Swollen eyelids

7.Blurred vision

8.Swelling of the conjunctiva

Treatment of Conjunctivitis

1.Conjunctivitis sometimes requires medical attention. Cool compresses and artificial tears sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases.

2.In more severe cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be prescribed. Some patients with persistent allergic conjunctivitis may also require topical steroid drops.

3.Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments that cover a broad range of bacteria (chloramphenicol or fusidic acid used ).

4. There are several remedies for most types of conjunctivitis; for example, goat milk is used in its purified form for certain cases and ointment made out of purified tender coconut water mixed with herbs.

5.Wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.

6.Don’t share washcloths, towels or pillowcases with anyone else, and wash these items after each use.

7.Stay in well-ventilated areas if you’re exposed to smoke, chemicals or fumes. Cold compresses can be very soothing.