Amid heavy rainfall in Delhi and nearby areas over the past few weeks, conjunctivitis has become a prevalent concern. Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is the most common type of eye infection. The humid weather offers a favourable environment for bacteria and viruses to grow and spread, contributing to increased cases of highly contagious eye infections. “We are getting at least 100 cases of conjunctivitis per day. There is usually a seasonal increase in conjunctivitis cases, which coincides with the flu season. The conjunctivitis cases are mostly caused by a virus,” Dr JS Titiyal, chief of RP Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences at AIIMS said.
Schools in Delhi have also reported rising cases of eye infection. This infection is highly contagious and symptoms last for three to four days.
As conjunctivitis and other eye infections have become these days, we spoke to experts to understand the exact cause and tips to manage and prevent these.
Eye infection during monsoon: Know causes, treatment, prevention, symptoms and more
Red eyes, itching, eye pain, watery eyes, swelling, discharge from eyes, blurred vision and sensitivity to light are a few common symptoms of eye infection.
Rain and eye infections: What is the connection?
The surge in the number of cases can be attributed to various factors.
“The combination of greater humidity and warmer temperatures during the rainy season produces ideal circumstances for the rapid reproduction of bacteria and viruses. Additionally, waterlogging of the contaminated water allows the bacteria and germs to multiply quickly,” said Dr Aparna Darshwal, HOD – Ophthalmology, Metro Hospital, Faridabad.
How to prevent eye infection
Hand hygiene is of utmost importance when it comes to preventing the spread of infections from one person to another. Therefore it is crucial to wash hands regularly to prevent infection transmission.
Dr Pavan Kumar Johri, Consultant – Ophthalmology at Max Hospital, Vaishali, shared a few more tips to prevent the spread. Here are some of these:
- Wash hands or sanitize frequently (every 2 hours)
- Avoid touching your eyes
- A person with conjunctivitis should self-isolate for a few days till watering and discharge stops
- Do not share towels, handkerchiefs or bedding with a person with conjunctivitis
- Avoid wearing contact lens
- Do not self-medicate
- Avoid public places, especially water parks and public swimming pools
By maintaining good hand hygiene, refraining from touching your face, and being cautious about crowded environments, you can help safeguard yourself and others from infections.
How to manage eye infections during monsoon
“Relying on home treatments may not be sufficient in the majority of cases. It is better to visit with an ophthalmologist to get timely treatment. Self-medication is also not advisable in such circumstances,” Dr Darshal advised.
Treatment for eye infection
The current medical recommendation involves the use of antibiotic drops. “However, the type of infection can vary, whether it’s viral or bacterial, and the severity may differ as well. Consequently, some cases may respond well to a single antibiotic drop, while others may require a combination of drops and ointments to effectively treat the condition. The treatment approach will be tailored according to the specific nature and severity of the eye infection to ensure the best possible outcome,” Dr Johri explained.
Also, some patients may be advised to take an anti-inflammatory drug.
What should patients do at home?
Home remedies alone may prove inadequate to address the issue effectively. “However, it is recommended to follow a simple yet essential action that is washing the eyes with clean water at least three times a day, ensuring that the water makes direct contact with the eyeballs,” Dr Johri added.
It is important to follow the prescribed dosage as said by the doctor to ensure effective and safe management of the condition.
(Dr Pavan Kumar Johri, Consultant – Ophthalmology, Max Hospital, Vaishali)
(Dr Aparna Darshwal, HOD – Ophthalmology, Metro Hospital, Faridabad)