ConjunctivitisWhat is Conjunctivitis?

It is an inflammatory condition of the conjunctiva, a transparent, moist membrane that coats the inner surface of the eyelids and the outer surface of the eye. It is generally called pink eye since the tiny blood vessels in the conjunctiva undergo severe inflammation.

Conjunctivitis Types

The ocular disorder can be classified into the following types:

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis

  • Viral conjunctivitis

  • Allergic conjunctivitis

  • Neonatal conjunctivitis

  • Chemical conjunctivitis

  • Keratoconjunctivitis

  • Blepharoconjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis Symptoms

Pink eye is represented by the following symptoms:

Conjunctivitis Causes

Reddening of the eyes can be attributed to microbial infections. Some of the common viral and bacterial agents include:

  • Enterovirus 70

  • Coxsackievirus A24

  • Adenoviruses

  • Herpes simplex virus

  • Haemophilus influenza

  • Staphylococcus aureas

  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae

  • Moraxella lacunata

  • Streptococcus pneumonia

  • Chlamydia trachomatis

For this reason, the condition does not only get easily get transmitted from individual to individual, but even spreads through contaminated water or objects. In fact, pink eye can be linked to sore throat, upper respiratory infection, and common cold. Inflammation of the conjunctiva can also be a result of dryness or presence of certain irritants. In some cases, the swelling occurs when an acidic or alkali reagent enters the eye. According to medical experts, the conjunctiva gets more affected when caustic alkalis like sodium hydroxide gets into the eyes.

Conjunctivitis Diagnosis

Redness and constant itching in the eye are the primary indicators of the ocular infection. A slit-lamp examination gives a better view of the anterior structures of the eye using a low-power microscope combined with a high-intensity light. In case of chemical conjunctivitis, a litmus paper test can help in determining the pH of the substance in the eyes. Presence of bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can be confirmed by growing a culture from a sample of discharge taken from the affected eye. If doctors suspect dysplasia or granulomatous disorder then an incisional biopsy should be conducted.

Conjunctivitis Differential Diagnosis

The following disorders must be ruled out during the diagnosis of the condition:

  • Asthma

  • Eczema

  • Dry eyes

  • Trachoma

  • Lagophthalmos

  • Caroticocavernous fistula

  • Photophobia

  • Glaucoma

  • Keratitis

  • Episcleritis

  • Uveitis

  • Meningitis

Conjunctivitis Treatment

In most patients, the infection clears within 2 to 5 days. In case of an allergy, the causative irritant should be removed. Use of artificial tears as well as cool compresses can reduce the discomfort and pain. Severe allergic reactions should receive antihistamines and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Chronic cases are usually treated with topical steroid eye drops. Although bacterial infections resolve on their own, administration of eye drops, antibiotics, and application of ointments can hasten the process of recovery. Depending on the severity and type of infection, the following medications are recommended:

  • Trimethoprim/polymyxin

  • Fluoroquinolones

  • Sodium sulfacetamide

  • Erythromycin

  • Tetracycline

  • Ceftriaxone

Conjunctivitis can be prevented by practicing good hygiene and not touching the eyes with infected hands. Affected patients must follow doctor’s instructions and apply eye drops regularly for proper eradication of infections.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *