Eye Flu medically known as conjunctivitis. It is a common condition which can affect all groups of ages. It is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, a transparent and thin layer covering the white part of the eyes and the inner surface of the eyelids. Generally, eye flu takes place during monsoon season. It can cause discomfort in eyes, blurring the vision, itchy and red in color.Depending on the underlying cause of conjunctivitis, the degree of redness can range from mild to severe.
Infectious Agents Behind Eye Flu
Eye Flu causes include viruses and bacteria, but other causes are allergies, environmental irritants and ultraviolet light.
Bacterial Infections – It is caused by various types of bacteria. Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenzae are often responsible for this form of conjunctivitis. It can enter the eye through various means which are poor hygiene, sharing cosmetic products, and touching the eyes with dirty hands. It usually requires a short course of antibiotic eye drops.
Viral Infections – It is the commonest cause of conjunctivitis. It is generally triggered by adenoviruses, which are also often responsible for common colds. These viruses spread easily from person to person through blowing your nose and rubbing your eyes. It tends to affect both the eyes simultaneously.
Allergies – It is caused by the allergic reactions to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander and certain eye drops. When the conjunctiva comes into contact with an allergen, the immune system releases histamines, leading to inflammation, redness, and itching of the eyes. It usually takes place during summer, spring and early fall. It typically affects both eyes the same as viral and bacterial infections.
Chemical Infections – It is caused by exposure to irritants like cosmetics, foreign objects, contact lens solutions, chlorine, injury to the eye and intense light. Contaminated contact lenses can lead to harmful bacteria and viruses entering the eyes, causing eye flu.
Identifying Symptoms Of Eye Flu
It can be present with various symptoms, which depend upon the causes. Common symptoms includes :
- Watery Eyes – Reason behind the watery eyes is the inflammation of the conjunctiva which can stimulate the tear glands. It can be challenging to perform daily activities.
- Redness – The conjunctiva becomes inflamed, causing the blood vessels in the eyes to dilate, giving the eyes a pink or red appearance. Redness more often takes place during morning.
- Discharge from the eyes – During morning or waking up, a sticky discharge takes place out of the eyes. This discharge is yellowish in color. It can cause crusting and sticking of eyelids together.
- Sensitivity to light – The eyes become sensitive to light. Exposure to sunlight can cause burning sensation and irritation to the eyes.
- Swelling of Eyelids – Allergic conjunctivitis can lead to eyelid edema or swelling of eyelids, making the eyes appear puffy and swollen.
Eye examination is the first step in the diagnosis of Conjunctivitis which should be conducted by an eye specialist. Doctor checks the following :
- Check for any crusting and discharge on the eyelids.
- Notice the patient’s visual activities to determine if there is any change in vision.
- Examination of conjunctiva should be done to check for any redness and swelling.
- Evaluate the cornea for any abnormalities.
- Checks the pupil’s response to light.
Additional tests are also available to confirm the identification of conjunctivitis. Tests include allergy testing, eye swab, tear film evaluation and fluorescein staining.
Preventing For Eye Flu
Protect yourself and others from the conjunctivitis by adapting these hygiene practices :
- Practice good hygiene
- Stay away from affected patients.
- Avoid sharing personal things such as cosmetics and towels.
- Avoid eye rubbing.
- Use protective eyewear.
- Disinfectant and clean surfaces.
- Practice good contact lens hygiene.
- Utilize tissues when sneezing and coughing.
- Wash hands with soap properly.
At-Home Care For Eye Flu
- If you wear glasses, make sure to keep them clean properly with soap.
- Suffering from conjunctivitis, Avoid contact lenses. Switch to wearing glasses.
- Avoid Cosmetics or eye artificial makeup products to apply during conjunctivitis.
- Apply warm or cold compresses to reduce swelling or inflammation due to eye flu.
- Avoid touching and rubbing the eyes, which can lead to spreading the infection to others.
- Avoid sharing personal things such as towels, eye drops, washcloths etc.
By prioritising the preventive measure, we can reduce the chances of contracting eye flu. Try not to self medicate or use random eye drops, Consult eye specialists for proper diagnosis and treatment. Management includes examination of eyes and identifying the type of conjunctivitis.