Centres of Excellence -> Ophthalmology -> Treatment of inflammation of the eye conjunctiva (conjunctivitis)

Treatment of inflammation of the eye conjunctiva (conjunctivitis)

What is conjunctivitis?

Inflammation of the conjunctiva or conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the inner side of the eyelid that extends to the front of the eyeball to the cornea. It is common and unpleasant, but usually not dangerous. The most common symptoms and signs of this eye inflammation are swelling of the eyelids, redness of the eyes, burning, itching, blistering, yellow or green discharge in case of bacterial infection, watery - white discharge in case of viral infection, watery discharge in case of allergic infection and photophobia. They usually last up to 2 weeks and are self-limiting.

There are three types of conjunctivitis: viral, bacterial and allergic conjunctivitis.

Viral conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is the most common and in 90% of cases it is caused by adenoviruses. It usually develops as an epidemic phenomenon in closed environments such as work collectives, kindergartens, schools and swimming pools and is very common in children. It is highly contagious because viral particles can survive on dry surfaces for weeks. Transmission occurs through contact with body fluids, during coughing or sneezing and through hand-to-eye contact, through infected bedding or towels.

It usually lasts 2 - 3 weeks and as a complication can have inflammation of the cornea (keratitis). Currently, there is no antiviral treatment for this disease and only symptomatic therapy is carried out, such as artificial tears, stopping wearing contact lenses, cold compresses to relieve symptoms, antiseptics such as povidone-iodide to reduce the infectivity of adenovirus.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is a very common and usually self-limiting inflammation of the conjunctiva most often caused by streptococcus, staphylococcus, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. In a smaller number of cases it can be caused by gonococcus or meningococcus and the last is more common in children. Usually one of the first symptoms is eyelids stuck together with copious yellow-green discharge upon waking up and the aforementioned symptoms and signs.

As a complication, serious corneal inflammations are possible, especially with gonococcus and meningococcus. A swab of the junction should be done as soon as possible in order to prove the causative agent and treat it according to the microbiological findings. It is treated with local antibiotic therapy in the form of drops and ointment several times a day. In case of more severe infections, systemic antibiotic therapy is also applied. Increased hygiene, frequent hand washing, changing of bed linen and towels is also necessary because this form of conjunctivitis is also highly contagious.

Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by a hypersensitivity reaction after exposure to environmental allergens such as pollen, animal hair, cigarette smoke, chlorine from swimming pools, car fumes, etc. The leading problems are swelling of the eyelids, itching, redness of the eye and watery discharge.

In the treatment, artificial tears, mast cell stabilizers and antihistamines are used, i.e. drugs with dual action (mast cell stabilizers and antihistamines). In the case of more severe clinical forms, especially in combination with rhinitis, oral antihistamines are also introduced which can have dryness and drowsiness as very common side effects.

If you have problems with allergic conjunctivitis, it is best to avoid the allergen by regularly checking the pollen calendar. In case of inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye (conjunctivitis) and inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis), you can ease your problems by daily hygiene of the eyelids with sterile wipes that remove impurities, secretions, dried secretions and sebum, all of which contribute to the worsening of the inflammation.

If you need an ophthalmological examination, contact us with confidence and arrange your appointment.

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