Jun 04, 2022

Table of contents

Conjunctivitis, also known as red eye disease, is caused by various bacteria, viruses and allergies. Due to its contagious nature, patients should pay attention to hygiene rules and isolate themselves from society.

What is Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis, which occurs as a result of inflammation of the transparent layer surrounding the eyeball for various reasons, occurs in infants due to incomplete opening of the tear duct. Conjunctivitis, which can occur as a result of contact with bacteria, viruses, fungi and chemicals, can also be caused by allergies.

Causes of Conjunctivitis

Viruses that cause conjunctivitis include adenovirus, varicella zoster virus and herpes simplex virus. Viruses are the most common cause of conjunctivitis and are contagious.

Bacterial-induced conjunctivitis is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. Bacterial conjunctivitis is common in children and is also contagious. It can be seen as an epidemic, especially between October and April.

Another factor that causes conjunctivitis is allergy, which is usually caused by pollen, dust and grass. When allergenic substances are encountered, an antibody called immunoglobulin E is produced. This antibody stimulates mast cells in the layers of the eye or upper respiratory tract, causing infection.

The final cause of conjunctivitis is contact with a foreign body. This substance can be chemical or physical. These substances cause scratching and irritation of the conjunctiva of the eye. Conjunctivitis due to irritation improves within a few days.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

The symptoms of conjunctivitis vary depending on the cause of the inflammation or the body’s response. The most common symptoms include the following.

  • Eye discharge
  • Watery eye
  • Itching in one or both eyes,
  • Redness of one or both eyes,
  • Burr,

Burrs caused by conjunctivitis occur especially in the morning. All-night eye discharge causes burrs and eyelashes to stick together. Patients have difficulty opening their eyes. In order to eliminate this problem, the eyelids and eyelashes should be moisturized and the burrs should be gently removed.

The shape of the discharge from the eyes gives information about the cause of the disease. In viral or allergy-induced conjunctivitis, the discharge is transparent and watery. This discharge is called serous discharge.

Mucoid discharges are threadlike and are caused by allergies and eye irritation. In bacterial conjunctivitis, eye discharges occur in a purulent form and are called purulent discharge.

Risk Groups for Conjunctivitis

  • People who wear lenses that change at long intervals,
  • People in places where viral and bacterial diseases can spread more quickly, such as nurseries, schools and offices,
  • People with allergies,

How is Conjunctivitis Diagnosed?

Patients’ complaints and findings are usually sufficient for the diagnosis of conjunctivitis. In addition, questions such as whether there are conjunctivitis patients around the patient, when the complaints started and whether the patient has allergies also facilitate the diagnosis. Culture tests are rarely used to diagnose conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis Treatment

Treatment of conjunctivitis is aimed at alleviating the patient’s symptoms. Applications such as artificial tears, eye cleansing, warm or cold compresses are recommended. They should avoid lens use and eye makeup during the illness.

Viral Conjunctivitis Treatment

There is usually no need for medication in the treatment of viral conjunctivitis. Symptoms that start in one eye and spread to the other eye within a few days tend to disappear spontaneously within a few days. However, if the cause of conjunctivitis is the herpes virus, antiviral agents are used.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis Treatment

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. Antibiotics not only help to cure the disease in a shorter period of time, but also prevent the disease from spreading and worsening the symptoms. Adults are usually treated with antibiotics While eye drops are used, ointments are preferred for ease of use in children.

Allergic Conjunctivitis Treatment

In the treatment of conjunctivitis caused by allergies, eye drops are used to relieve symptoms. Antihistamine eye drops are also used to alleviate immune responses.

How to Prevent Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis of viral or bacterial origin is highly contagious. For this reason, it can easily be passed from person to person. In order to prevent the disease from becoming an epidemic, there are some precautions that patients should follow.

  • Not sharing the products used in eye makeup with anyone else,
  • Not sharing products such as towels or napkins with others,
  • No use of places such as pools or baths,
  • Cleaning the goggles,
  • Discontinuation of lens use for the period recommended by the doctor,
  • Frequent change of pillowcases and sheets,
  • Clean the discharge from the eye with a clean cloth,
  • Not touching the eyes with the hands,
  • Frequent hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds,
  • Frequent hand cleaning with disinfectants with at least 60% alcohol content in environments where soap is not available,
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