What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is a very common eye disease, both in children and adults, which is caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva.
This thin, transparent membrane, which covers the inside of the eyelids and the white part of the eye, is protected by the tear, which dilutes and helps eliminate germs and external irritants. However, sometimes this protection is not enough, and the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, its small blood vessels become more visible and the eye takes on a reddish appearance.
In the vast majority of cases, conjunctivitis does not pose a serious threat to visual health, although some forms of the disease can significantly affect the cornea and cause vision impairment.
This disease is also accompanied by itching and even eye pain in some cases, as well as swelling of the eyelids, blurred vision and hypersensitivity to light (photophobia).
The presence of rheum and mucous secretions is highly characteristic of infectious conjunctivitis (viral and bacterial), whereas allergic conjunctivitis mainly causes itching.
Depending to the factors that cause the pathology, there are different types:
- Viral conjunctivitis: caused by the infection of a virus, it produces an inflammatory condition that can last between 1 and 4 weeks. It is extremely contagious (even 3 days before it manifests itself and about 15-20 days after); thus, our specialists recommend to be very careful with hand and eye hygiene and avoid sharing towels, pillows, hygiene products or cosmetics.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis: this is another infectious form of the disease (although not as contagious as viral conjunctivitis) and usually remits in 7 to 10 days.
- Allergic conjunctivitis: this is particularly common in spring and summer due to pollen, although you can also suffer from it all year round, if you are allergic to substances such as dust, animal hair, etc. As far as possible, we advise you to avoid exposure to potential allergens in your environment as the main preventive measure.
- Irritant conjunctivitis: caused by contact with certain chemicals (swimming pool chlorine, make-up, tobacco, pollution …), which can irritate your eye.
Treatment should be supervised by your ophthalmologist and will vary depending on the cause that has triggered the disease:
- Viral conjunctivitis: measures to relieve symptoms by washing with saline solution and eye drops. Moreover, in some cases we can also prescribe antibiotics to avoid possible bacterial overinfection that worsens the situation or, if there is an individual immune reaction, topical corticosteroids.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis: in addition to the above measures to relieve symptoms, treatment with topical antibiotics for a week is necessary. In the event of severe conditions that do not improve within 24-48 hrs after starting antibiotic medication, it is important that you consult a specialist as soon as possible.
- Allergic conjunctivitis: antihistamine and corticoid eye drops. In many cases, we recommend that you consult an allergy specialist to identify which allergen triggers your conjunctivitis and to associate systemic treatments or even vaccines in specific severe cases.
- Irritant conjunctivitis: treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs and/or eye drops, as well as preventative measures to avoid possible irritants.
Make an appointment to visit Miranza and take care of your eye health.