What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is a red eye caused by inflammation of the membrane that lines the surface of the eyeball and the inner eyelid (eye conjunctiva). In addition to red eyes, conjunctivitis an be accompanied by itching of the eyes and watery eyes.
Conjunctiva contains blood vessels that will widen during conjunctivitis. Dilation of blood vessels is what causes red eye symptoms. This conjunctivitis often causes red eyes in infants, eye pain in children, as well as older persons.
Conjunctivitis can also be a sign that a person has been infected with the CORONAVIRUS that causes COVID-19. Therefore, if you or your child has conjunctivitis, it is best to see a doctor so that the condition can be ascertained.
Conjunctivitis risk factors
Some factors that increase a person’s risk of conjunctivitis include:
- Using contact lenses.
- Exposure of a person infected with viral or bacterial conjunctivitis.
- Exposure to something that makes you allergic (allergic conjunctivitis).
What is Conjunctivitis Caused By?
There are many things that can be the cause behind conjunctivitis, among others:
- Infection by viruses or bacteria.
- Allergic reactions to things, such as pollen, dust, or smoke.
- Specific allergies that affect people wearing contact lenses.
- Reaction to eye drops.
- Irritants to shampoos, impurities, smoke, and chlorine.
- Fungi, amoeba, and parasites.
Conjunctivitis is also sometimes caused by s**exually transmitted diseases (STDs). Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are examples of STDs that can cause conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis types causes
The condition is divided into three types, namely allergies, infections, and chemical exposure. The following are the types of conjunctivitis based on the cause:
Noninfectious conjunctivitis is a type of inflammation of the non-contagious conjunctiva.
Symptoms can include itching accompanied by watery eyes. The eyes can be reddish, but usually not as bright as other types. There are 2 types of non-allergic conjunctivitis, namely:
Allergic conjunctivitis generally appears in people who have seasonal allergies. The eyes will start to swollen, redden, and itchy if you are exposed to allergy triggers. Allergic inflammation of the conjunctiva that causes long (chronic) swelling of the outer layer of the eye is called vernal conjunctivitis. It is common in people who have a history of strong allergies, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema.
Giant papillary conjunctivitis
This condition is caused by the presence of a foreign object in the eyes. If you wear contact lenses frequently and don’t regularly change them, you’re more likely to experience this condition.
In contrast to before, the different types of conjunctival inflammation present in this group are contagious. This condition is distinguished into three parts, namely:
This type of conjunctivitis is most often caused by a bacterial infection of the staphylococcal or streptococcus of your own skin or respiratory system. Insects, physical contact with others, not maintaining cleanliness, or using contaminated eye makeup and facial lotions are things that can cause conjunctival inflammation due to bacterial infections. In addition, borrowing each other’s make-up and wearing contact lenses that are not your own or not cleaned can also cause this condition.
The most common viral infection that causes conjunctivitis is adenovirus. The condition can generally heal on its own without treatment, within 2-4 weeks. The eye droppings that appear are usually clear in color. In the type of herpes virus that attacks the eyes, the condition can be accompanied by the onset of flexion on the eyelids with a size of < 1 mm and contains fluid.
It is not uncommon for infections to be accompanied by upper respiratory distress, fever, or enlarged lymph nodes. This eye pain can be transmitted through direct contact with eye wax or airway mucus. Transmission of viral conjunctivitis can also occur indirectly through towels and pool water exposed to the virus.
This is a severe form of conjunctival inflammation that appears in newborns. This is a serious condition that can cause permanent eye damage if not treated quickly. Ophthalmia neonatorum is a conjunctivitis that arises when a baby is exposed to chlamydia or gonorrhea while passing through the birth canal.
This condition can be caused by irritation from air pollution, chlorine in swimming pools, and exposure to harmful chemicals.
What is Conjunctivitis Symptoms?
Initially, conjunctivitis only affects one eye, but it can then infect both eyes. Other recognizable symptoms include:
- Redness. The eyes become reddish because the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva are inflamed.
- Watery eyes. Tear production will be more active due to inflammation.
- The eyes will feel sore and itchy and uncomfortable as if there is a foreign object in the eyes
- Glare. The eyes will be more sensitive to light
- Swelling around the eyes
To determine the diagnosis of conjunctivitis, a series of medical interviews and physical examinations are required by a doctor or ophthalmologist. Early diagnosis can help prevent the disease from spreading, as conjunctivitis can be contagious. However, conjunctivitis does not interfere with vision.
Conjunctivitis can cause inflammation of the cornea that affects vision. In infants, conjunctivitis can cause them to permanently lose sight.
Therefore, the disease requires treatment as quickly as possible so as not to cause complications.
Maintaining personal hygiene is the best way to prevent conjunctivitis transmission. We can do this in the following ways:
- Do not touch the eyes with your hands
- Wash your hands as often as possible
- Use clean towels and wipes every day
- Do not share towels
- Change pillowcases as often as possible
- Remove damaged or expired eye cosmetics
- Do not share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.
Conjunctivitis is no more contagious than the common cold. So, it will not cause problems if we have to do activities even though we are experiencing conjunctivitis. However, we still have to keep ourselves well clean.