The onset of monsoon brings with it an outbreak of conjunctivitis, which can be viral, bacterial or a combination of both.

Conjunctivitis refers to a common ocular condition encountered by ophthalmologists all around the world. Patients usually present with red or pink eyes, lid swelling, watery or mucoid discharge (yellow or greenish), eye pain, and severe eye congestion with blurred vision. 

At times, there can be fever, sore throat or upper respiratory infection associated with it. Patients with conjunctivitis need to be thoroughly examined in clinics to start appropriate treatment. Over-the-counter prescriptions usually lead to microorganism resistance and ineffective therapy because not all pink eyes are infectious. 

Tips to safeguard yourself from contracting the disease:

• Keep good hand hygiene – regular hand washing, using sanitizers regularly.
• Avoid eye rubbing and touching of the eyes.
• Avoid using common water bodies like swimming pools and steam rooms like saunas.
• Avoid sharing common items like towels, pillow covers, handkerchiefs, clothes, makeup brushes and eye drops.
• Wearing dark glasses to avoid cross-contamination is a myth; they should be worn to avoid aversion to light (photosensitivity) if present, and they give protection from touching your own eyes.
• Keep your workplace and your home clean by frequently disinfecting surfaces like tabletops, floors, and seating and changing bed linens.
• Avoid using contact lenses during monsoons as they can be a source of infection.
• After coming in contact with dirty water or swimming pool water, it`s better to always take a shower.
• Whenever your eyes turn pink or red, visit your nearest ophthalmologist and never self-prescribe medicines or self-treat. If conjunctivitis is not well treated, it can lead to vision problems and cellulitis of the area around your eyes.
• Eye makeup should be minimal. If you apply it regularly, make sure you wash it off before you go to sleep. Sanitise your makeup brushes and applicators.
• Treat your underlying cold, cough, or respiratory tract infection.
• Complete the course of medicines as prescribed by your treating doctor and also go for a follow-up whenever called.

(By: Dr Sakshi Lalwani, Pediatric And Neuro Ophthalmologist at Dr Agarwals Eye Hospital with CEDS, Bandra)