Conjunctivitis, also widely referred to as 'pink eye', is a condition where the eye's conjunctiva, a mucous membrane lining the eyelids and covering the front of the eyes, becomes inflamed. This eye ailment is particularly prevalent during the rainy season.

Causes Behind Conjunctivitis

The root cause of conjunctivitis can either be a bacterial or viral infection. Typically, viral infections are more common, with the adenovirus being the usual culprit, often accompanying respiratory system infections like the common cold or viral sore throat.

The transmission of conjunctivitis is quite straightforward — direct contact with an infected person's eye secretions, such as tears or crust. Public places with large gatherings, like schools, hospitals, and public transport, are hotspots for its spread. It's worth noting that children are more susceptible, mainly because they aren't as hygiene-conscious as adults.

Spotting the Symptoms

Conjunctivitis can manifest in one or both eyes. When it affects both eyes, the second one usually gets infected 2-3 days after the first. Common symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Reddened eyes
  • Pain around the eye socket
  • Eye irritation or the sensation of a foreign object in the eye
  • Excessive tearing
  • Swollen eyelids, potentially with small spreading bumps
  • Thick eye secretions after sleeping, especially if caused by bacteria

Usually, conjunctivitis symptoms will diminish after a couple of weeks. However, if untreated, certain side effects, like corneal swelling leading to blurred vision, might persist for up to two months.

Diagnosing Conjunctivitis

A comprehensive eye examination and a review of one's medical history are the first steps in diagnosing conjunctivitis. While most conjunctivitis cases are straightforward, some symptoms might hint at more severe infections like varicella zoster virus, rubella, or morbillivirus. If suspected, eye secretions will be analysed.

Effective Treatment Approaches

Adenovirus-related conjunctivitis is typically mild and resolves within a fortnight. Doctors might prescribe soothing eye drops, pain relievers, or even antibacterial meds to prevent bacterial complications.

For bacterial conjunctivitis, while it often resolves itself, antibacterial treatment is advisable to expedite recovery and limit its spread.

However, if you notice severe symptoms like intense eye pain, blurriness, light sensitivity, extremely red eyes, or white corneal spots, it's crucial to consult a doctor immediately. Such symptoms might signify a more severe viral infection needing antiviral medications.

Prevention & Personal Care Tips

To prevent the spread of conjunctivitis:

  • Regularly wash hands
  • Avoid touching or rubbing eyes
  • Properly dispose of tissues used on the affected eye
  • Use separate eye drop bottles for each eye
  • Steer clear of sharing personal items like towels or pillowcases
  • Abstain from using contact lenses and swimming
  • Consider staying home for a week to prevent transmission
  • Rest and take care of your overall health
  • Wearing sunglasses can be beneficial, but avoid prolonged eye coverage unless there's corneal inflammation or soreness.