All Eyes On Conjunctivitis

For illustration purpose only.

Malaysia is facing the hazy weather, again. 

This unfortunate weather brings with it a myriad of health issues to its people.

According to Health Ministry director-general, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the number of patients seeking treatments for conjunctivitis, asthma and skin rashes rose by 40 per cent nationwide due to the prolonged incident of haze, to date.

He said conjunctivitis cases rose by 24.9 per cent from 253 to 317 cases between Sept 8 and 14.

Here are 10 important facts about conjunctivitis that we should know:

1. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or swelling of the conjunctiva, the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.

2. Often called "pink eye," it may affect one or both eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis are highly contagious and can easily spread. While conjunctivitis is usually a minor eye infection, sometimes it can develop into a more serious problem.

3. A viral or bacterial infection can cause conjunctivitis. It can also develop due to an allergic reaction to air irritants such as pollen and smoke, chlorine in swimming pools, ingredients in cosmetics, or other products that contact the eyes, such as contact lenses.

4. People with conjunctivitis may experience these symptoms; gritty feeling in one or both eyes, itching or burning sensation in one or both eyes, excessive tearing, discharge from one or both eyes, swollen eyelids, pink discoloration to the whites of one or both eyes and increased sensitivity to light.

5. Three main types of conjunctivitis are allergic, infectious and chemical.

6. Allergic conjunctivitis occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies, developing it when coming into contact with a substance that triggers an allergic reaction in their eyes.  Giant papillary conjunctivitis is a type of allergic conjunctivitis caused by the chronic presence of a foreign body in the eye. People who wear hard or rigid contact lenses, wear soft contact lenses that are not replaced frequently, have an exposed suture on the surface of the eye or have a prosthetic eye are more likely to develop this form of conjunctivitis.

7. Bacterial conjunctivitis is an infection most often caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria from your own skin or respiratory system. Insects, physical contact with other people, poor hygiene (touching the eye with unclean hands), or using contaminated eye makeup and facial lotions can also cause the infection. Sharing makeup and wearing contact lenses that are not your own or are improperly cleaned can also cause bacterial conjunctivitis.

8. Viral conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by contagious viruses associated with the common cold. It can develop through exposure to the coughing or sneezing of someone with an upper respiratory tract infection.

9. Chemical Conjunctivitis can be caused by irritants like air pollution, chlorine in swimming pools, and exposure to noxious chemicals.

10. Treatment will depend on the cause of your conjunctivitis.  If it's a bacterial infection you might be prescribed antibiotics. But these will not work if it's caused by a virus (viral conjunctivitis) or an allergy.

SOURCE: American Optometric Association






HealthEdge


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