7:55 am - Monday October 16

Conjunctivitis – causes, symptoms and treatment

“My eyes have been red and sore for a couple of days, Doc­tor.” said the patient. “The trouble started in one and then spread to the other. It feels as if there is a grit in them and they have been watering a lot. Then this morning when I woke up the lids were stuck together and I had to bathe them to get my eyes open. What do you think is the cause ?” asked the patient.



Her eyes were congested and inflamed especially in the corners and on the inner side of the lids. There was a little discharge which had dried on the eyelashes and had formed a crust.

“Can you see all right?” Dr Page asked.

“My vision isn’t really affected.” she replied. “Sometimes it is a bit blurred but my sight clears when I blink. I can’t really com­plain that my eyes are painful.”

After gently turning back her eyelids and examining their inner sides as well as the surface of both eyeballs, I was sure there were no foreign bodies present.

“This is conjunctivitis.” I told my patient.

“What does conjunctivitis mean, Doctor?”

“It means inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin transparent mem­brane which lines the eyelids and covers the globe of the eye.

In conjunctivitis redness and congestion are greatest on the inner surface of the lids and around the outer circumference of the eye­ball because that’s where the conjunctiva is thickest.”

“What causes conjunctivitis?” she asked.

“A variety of factors may be to blame. Some cases are a mani­festation of an allergic reaction and others are caused by exposure to chemicals or irritating dust and fumes. However, the commonest cause is infection either with bacterial germs or with viruses. In ecent years virus infections have become much more common.”

“What is the treatment for conjunctivitis? Should my eyes be covered ?”

“You can wear dark glasses, they will allow circulation of air around the eyes and free drainage of any discharge. Eyeshields are not advisable because they dam up pussy discharge inside the closed lids. Frequent bathing with warm water will prevent crusting of the lids. I will prescribe drops to be instilled into the eyes every two hours and an ointment to use at night. Above all, remember con­junctivitis is highly infectious so you must take great care to pro­tect other members of the family. Use disposable tissues to wipe your eyes, separate towels and carefully wash your hands after each time you touch your eyes.”


Glaucoma is a disease process with an increase in intraocular pressure.


Symptoms – Chronic glaucoma (simple, non-inflammatory, or compensated).

Acute or inflammatory glaucoma (noncompensated): this may come suddenly, without warnings, as an acute inflammatory affection. The eye is red and usually painful, the pupil is dilated, the vision is greatly reduced and, as a rule, the cornea is steamy, all the media is so cloudy that a clear view of the retina and the optic nerve can not be obtained.


Acute glaucoma must be distinguished from other acute inflammatory affections, such as iritis, conjunctivitis and ke­ratitis. Chronic glaucoma is confused with cataract. In chronic glau­coma the fundus, or at least the fundus reflex, can be seen with the ophthalmoscope, which should at once distinguish from a cata­ract which is sufficiently advanced to affect the sight.



The treatment must be both general and local. The general treatment includes the care of any general disease that may depress or weaken the patient, removal of the foci of infection and the avoidance of worry, anxiety, stimulants, including tea, and cof­fee, fatigue and emotional disturbances. Attention to diet, exercise and rest is necessary. The surgical treatment consists in the perfor­mance of some operation that will provide for the drainage of the intraocular fluids.

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