Pritesh Jain, 32, who is recovering from conjunctivitis has almost lost his vision. An advertising professional, Jain never realised that red eye could damage his eyes to such an extent.
Doctors claim that there has been a rise in conjunctivitis cases in Mumbai over the last few days and they attribute it to the change in temperature conducive for conjunctivitis causing adenovirus to spread.
Dr Arjun Ahuja, head of the ophthalmology department, KEM Hospital, said, “We are getting a lot of conjunctivitis cases. Mostly, it is the adenovirus that is affecting many Mumbaikars and leading to prolonged illness. In some cases, it lasts for four to six weeks.”
Agreeing with Dr Ahuja, Dr Harshvardhan Ghorpade, ophthalmologist at the Fortis Hospital said, “It is our observation that there are strains of adenovirus, but there is one particular strain that is known to cause a lot of complication and exists in a higher number. So it means that specific strain is in circulation, which is causing red eye. Seventy per cent of cases we are seeing are caused by this strain.”
Symptoms include blurred vision, crusts that form on the eyelid overnight, eye pain, increased tearing, itching and redness.
Dr Nagendra Shah, ophthalmologist at the Bombay Hospital said, “As soon as one suffers from theses symptoms, they should rush to an eye specialist. We have seen many a times, people refer to the doctor late and thus the recovery gets delayed and add to complications.”
Doctors suggest many preventive measures. Dr Shah recommends that the eyes should not be touched by dirty hands. People should avoid sharing towels or handkerchiefs.
“Besides, family members of patients should use sanitizers to keep their hands clean all the time,” said Dr Ahuja, adding that those travelling by public transport need to be extra careful and schoolchildren should ensure that they do not come in direct contact with infected persons.
Staring at an infection...
Conjunctivitis, commonly known as red eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids
Adenoviral conjunctivitis, the most common cause of red eye, is an emerging viral infection which is contagious and spreads due to direct contact with people or contaminated surfaces exposed to secretions
Patients usually complain of red eye with itching, burning or a foreign body sensation that is associated with water to mucous discharge and swollen glands. Severe untreated cases can present with corneal involvement
Adenoviral conjunctivitis associated with the presence of a pseudomembrane or corneal involvement requires treatment with topical corticosteroids
Approximately 30-50% of the patients with the form of adenovirus that causes epidemic keratoconjunctivitis may develop corneal deposits, which may lead to persistent visual loss and light sensitivity. This may last for six months to a year.
Did you know? It’s a myth that looking at someone who has conjunctivitis spreads the infection. Red eye is contagious only if you use belongings which have been used by an infected person .