Conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the conjunctiva is called conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis can have a variety of causes, such as bacteria (in pink eye, for example), viruses, chemicals, allergies, and a handful of others. In many cases it is difficult to determine the primary cause for the inflammation. One of the most common is bacterial infection.

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Conjunctivitis

 

The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that comprises the tough, leathery outer coat of the eye; the white of the eye lies behind the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva has thousands of small blood vessels and serves to lubricate and protect the eye while the eye moves in its socket.

Inflammation of the conjunctiva is called conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis can have a variety of causes, such as bacteria (in pink eye, for example), viruses, chemicals, allergies, and a handful of others. In many cases it is difficult to determine the primary cause for the inflammation. One of the most common is bacterial infection.

a severe example of conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is indicated by swelling of the lid and a yellowish discharge. Sometimes it causes the eye to itch and the eyelids to become clogged with pus-like waste matter, particularly upon waking. The conjunctiva appears red nd sometimes thickened. Often, both eyes are involved.

The bacteria most commonly at fault are staphylococcus, streptococcus, and h. influenza. Conjunctivitis is readily contagious, easily transmitted by rubbing the eye after contact with infected household items such as towels or handkerchiefs. It is common for entire families to become infected simultaneously.

Conjunctivitis can be directly cured with treatment. Usually antibiotic drops and compresses ease the discomfort and clear up the infection in a few days. In a handful of cases, the inflammation does not respond well to the initial treatment with eye drops. In these situations, which are rare, a second visit to the office should be made and additional measures undertaken. In cases of severe infection, oral antibiotics are necessary. Covering the eye is not recommended because a cover provides protection for the germs causing the infection. If left untreated, conjunctivitis can create serious complications, such as infections in the cornea, lids, and tear ducts.

Certain precautions can to taken to avoid the disease and stop its spread. Careful washing of the hands, the use of clean handkerchiefs, and avoidance of contagious individuals are recommended. Small children frequently get conjunctivitis due to poor hygiene.

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