Viral Conjunctivitis Update

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India

Eye problems are frequent during the monsoons. Viral conjunctivitis or eye flu is one such common condition, said Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India, and Dr Satish Mehta Sr Eye Surgeon Moolchand Medcity. In an attempt to educate the people about the problem, the specialists released the following information:
  1. The most common cause of viral conjunctivitis is the Adeno virus, which also causes the common cold.
  2. The symptoms of viral conjunctivitis include: Redness, watery discharge from the eyes, itching in the eyes and foreign body sensation in one or both the eyes. Sticking of the eyelids or morning crusting may occasionally occur.
  3. Usually, the infection occurs in one eye, but the second eye may be involved within 24 to 48 hours
  4. Quite often, viral conjunctivitis occurs along with the common cold. The eye infection may be the only symptom of the disease. Other symptoms include: Fever, sore throat and runny nose due to common cold.
  5. Viral conjunctivitis is a highly contagious infection and spreads by contact with eye secretions or contaminated objects and surfaces.
  6. Viral conjunctivitis is a self–limited disease. Symptoms may last for 2–3 weeks.
  7. Involvement of one eye does not rule out viral eye flu.
  8. Treatment lessens the severity of symptoms but does not change the clinical course of the disease.
  9. There is no specific anti–viral drug for viral conjunctivitis.
  10. Symptoms can be relieved by using eye ointment or eye drops (anti–allergic).
  11. A non–antibiotic lubricating agent should be used. Eye drops should be put only in the affected eye.
  12. Wash your hands frequently to prevent the infection from spreading.
  13. Always wash your hands after touching the eyes, sneezing or coughing.
  14. Avoid sharing your handkerchiefs, tissues, towels, or bed sheets/pillows with uninfected family or friends if you have viral conjunctivitis.