Pink eye or conjunctivitis is the most common eye disease and can take the form of epidemics, especially during the cold season.
Types of conjunctivitis
Pink eye may be acute and chronic conjunctivitis.
- Conjunctivitis can be infectious and non-infectious.
- Infectious diseases include bacterial, viral, chlamydial and fungal conjunctivitis caused by a pathogen.
- Non-infectious are allergic conjunctivitis and inflammations of the eye mucosa, caused by exposure to any chemical substances or physical factors.
Clinical symptoms of conjunctivitis
Regardless of the cause, there are common clinical symptoms of conjunctivitis.
Patients are worried about eyelid swelling, redness of the eyes, burning, itching, tearing, foreign body sensation in the eye, and secretions of a different nature – mucous, purulent, sometimes mixed with blood.
With involvement in the pathological process of the cornea, patients complain of reduced vision. The general condition may worsen. Weakness, headache, an increase in lymph nodes may appear.
On examination, hyperemia and conjunctival edema are detected, there may be hemorrhages, follicles (rounded, raised formations that look like vesicles, grains).
In most cases, it is enough to undergo an examination on the slit lamp. The anamnesis can play a decisive role in establishing the correct diagnosis: what preceded the onset of symptoms, in what sequence they appeared, etc.
Sometimes additional diagnostics are required: smear, scraping or seeding from the conjunctiva to more accurately determine the cause of conjunctivitis. If there are concomitant manifestations on the part of other organs, other studies can be applied, for example, blood tests, fluorography or x-rays of the lungs, and others.
Treatment and prevention
The diagnosis and, therefore, the tactics of treatment require special methods of examination (examination on a slit lamp, smear, seeding from the conjunctiva), so you need to contact a specialist.
Self-prescription and the use of any drugs can only worsen the symptoms and not eliminate the cause. Blepharitis, keratitis, canaliculitis and other more serious complications may develop. The process may become chronic.
Treatment of conjunctivitis depends on the etiology.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is treated with eye drops and ointments, which include various antibiotics, better than a broad spectrum of action. In the absence of the treatment effect, it is necessary to clarify the sensitivity of the pathogen to antibiotic groups and, if necessary, change the drug.
Gonococcal conjunctivitis also requires shock doses of antibiotics applied systemically. Treatment continues until the disappearance of gonococci in smears from the cavity of the conjunctiva. It is possible to avoid serious complications from the cornea with timely treatment. Prevention consists of timely diagnosis and treatment of gonorrhea of the genital organs, sanitary and hygienic measures.
For the prevention of gonoblasts, sulfacyl sodium 30% is put in 3 times within 2-3 minutes. In diphtheritic conjunctivitis, anti-diphtheria serum is immediately administered. An hourly lavage of the conjunctival cavity is performed with aseptic solutions. Antibiotics and sulfonamides are prescribed for general and local use.
Antiviral drops and ointments containing recombinant interferon or interferon inducer – substances that stimulate the production of interferon are used to treat viral conjunctivitis. You can additionally assign antiviral drugs orally, as well as multivitamins to strengthen the immune system.
Allergic conjunctivitis requires, first of all, the identification and elimination of the allergen. Antihistamines are prescribed in drops and tablets. In some cases, corticosteroid drops can be used.
It should be explained to the patient that infectious conjunctivitis can be very contagious. Therefore, hygiene rules are of great importance – frequent hand washing and the use of individual towels and disposable napkins instead of handkerchiefs. When epidemic conjunctivitis, timely isolation of the patient is required, especially in hospitals and childcare facilities.