Conjuctivitis (Apollo)
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Conjuctivitis (Apollo)

Conjuctivitis is an inflammation or redness of the lining of the white part of the eye and the underside of the eyelid (conjunctiva) that can be caused by infection, allergic reaction, or physical agents like infrared or ultraviolet light.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or redness of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. Causes of conjunctivitis include:
· Bacterial infection
· Viral infection
· Irritants e.g. shampoo, dirt, smoke, chlorine from swimming pools
· Allergens e.g. dust, pollen, contact lenses

Conjunctivitis caused by some bacteria and viruses can spread easily from person to person, but is not a serious health risk if diagnosed and treated promptly. Conjunctivitis in newborn babies, however, should be reported to a doctor immediately, as it could be a vision-threatening infection.

SYMPTOMS of conjunctivitis vary based on the cause of the inflammation, but may include:
· Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
· Increased amount of tears
· Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep
· Green or white discharge from the eye
· Itchy eyes
· Burning eyes
· Blurred vision
· Increased sensitivity to light
Persons with symptoms of conjunctivitis who are sexually active may possibly be infected with the bacteria that cause either gonorrhea or chlamydia. In such cases an analysis of the fluid from the eyelid will enable identification of causative microorganism and proper treatment can be prescribed.

TREATMENT of conjunctivitis depends largely on the cause, in all cases, a warm compress applied to the affected eye several times a day may help to reduce discomfort
· Bacterial infection- conjunctivitis caused by bacteria, can be treated with antibiotics, in the form of eye drops or ointments. Eye drops or ointments may need to be applied to the inside of the eyelid two hourly for the first 48hrs of treatment then three to four times a day for a further three to five days. The infection should improve within a week. Take or use the drugs as instructed by your doctor/pharmacist, even if the symptoms go away.
Chloramphenicol eye drops/eye ointment are often used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis in patients 2yrs and above. The Elisca brand is affordable and effective, costing around N200. Eyedrops should be stored in the fridge and discarded after 28days of opening.

· Viral infection- this type often results from the viruses that cause a common cold. Just as a cold must run its course, so must this form of conjunctivitis, which usually lasts from four to seven days. Viral conjunctivitis can be highly contagious. Avoid contact with others and wash your hands frequently. If you wear contact lenses, you should throw away contacts worn while infected with conjunctivitis and wear glasses. Same for makeup.
·
· Irritants- for conjunctivitis caused by an irritating substance, use water to wash the substance from the eye for five minutes. Your eyes should begin to improve within four hours. If the conjunctivitis is caused by acid or alkaline material such as bleach, immediately rinse the eyes with lots of water and seek medical attention immediately.
·
· Allergies- allergy-associated conjunctivitis should improve once the allergy is treated and the allergen removed. Allergy eye drops could be applied or antihistamine tablets taken to relieve symptoms.
Ivycrom (sodium cromoglycate) eye drops cost around N130 or Loratyn (Loratidine tablets) cost around N100 per sachet.

References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website http://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/about/causes.html
WebMD health tool http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eye-health-conjunctivitis

Written by Mrs. Abi Ayodele MPharm, MPCN

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. While compiling this information, Drkay used all reasonable care but makes no warranty as to its accuracy.

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