Watch out for eye flu outbreak

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Watch out for eye flu outbreak
25 Jun, 2007 l 0307 hrs ISTlKamayani Singh/TIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: The early shower in city might be a pleasant sight, but watch your eyes. The rain not only spells relief, but is an invitation to number of infections like conjunctivitis.

Doctors claim they have already started getting cases of conjunctivitis. With monsoon round the corner, such infections are likely to rise in the coming days. ‘‘Delhi is getting rain for the past few days. Many cases of haemorrhagic conjunctivitis have started pouring in, where bleeding starts in the conjunctiva and can affect the eyesight. A rise in the humidity levels will certainly lead to an increase in the number of cases of infectious conjunctivitis,’’ said Dr Ritu Aurora, consultant eye surgeon, Max Healthcare.

While infectious conjunctivitis, which is caused by pathogens (viral or bacterial), has just started manifesting in the city, cases of allergic conjunctivitis are an all time this year.

‘‘Allergic conjunctivitis, which is an allergy or reaction in the eye due to a foreign particle, has been extremely high this year. I would say that there is an increase of almost 20%-30% in the cases of allergic conjunctivitis this year. The high number of dust storms in the city has been responsible for the surge in the cases,’’ said Dr Mahesh Chandra, professor of Ophthalmology AIIMS.

Doctors suggest wearing dark glasses, avoid touching the eye and frequently washing face to prevent allergy. Infectious conjunctivitis is contagious and one has to be careful to not share eye drops, tissues, eye-makeup, towels, clothes and bedsheets.

People wearing contact lenses should take extra care as the allergens in the air, like pollen and dust, can create problems for them. ‘‘With lenses one needs to be more hygienic, avoid using them for long and preferably wear disposable contact lenses,’’ added Dr Aurora.

The symptoms of conjunctivitis start with an irritation and redness in the eye and inner eyelid. In infectious conjunctivitis, there might also be discharge from the eye. Antibiotic drops, ointments and artificial tears are prescribed as medicine. Use of steroids — which are often prescribed for allergic conjunctivitis — should be avoided.