Delhi: Hospitals in Delhi are witnessing a surge in cases of eye infection or acute conjunctivitis, with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences reporting approximately 100 cases per day, doctors at the premier hospital said. Terming the rising eye infection cases an “epidemic”, Dr J S Titiyal, chief of RP Centre, AIIMS, said the number of such cases are expected to hit the peak within the next few days after which the numbers may come down. He said an acute epidemic of conjunctivitis cases is usually observed in the monsoon season which coincides with the flu season.
But this year, there seems to be a heavier outbreak of cases, which may be attributed to heavy, incessant rains and flooding, the doctor said.
He said acute conjunctivitis is usually caused by viruses which are highly contagious and spread quickly. The Dr. Rajendra Prasad (RP) Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here found adenovirus to be the causative agent in all cases tested. Among these, nearly 20-30 per cent of cases have a positive bacterial culture as well, pointing towards superadded bacterial infection.
We have found adenovirus in all samples that have been tested. The samples are preserved and the exact strain is under analysis, Titiyal said.
He further said that the viral infection of eyes is self-limiting and one can recover in one to two weeks. However, secondary bacterial infection may rarely occur and delay the recovery, the doctor added.
In such cases, use of antibiotic eye drops is advised, he said, adding that over-the-counter steroids should not be used unless advised by ophthalmologists for specific indications.
Two of the major symptoms experienced by patients are itching and grittiness. Lubricating drops are soothing to eyes and provide symptomatic relief. Cold compresses also decrease ocular irritation and itching. In people with active conjunctivitis, the use of dark goggles can help reduce photophobia and help prevent frequent touching of eyes and spread of infection.
The doctor also advised all to maintain hygiene, and wash one’s hands and face frequently to prevent the spread of infection. He said the disease does not spread by air or eye contact, however, direct transmission can occur through towels, bed sheets, among others. Therefore, personal items should not be shared to minimise the spread of infection during these times.
This time, a large number of children are also being affected. Proper guidelines should be issued to school authorities as well to prevent rapid transmission amongst children. Use of swimming pools may be avoided, he said. Contact lens users, if infected, should avoid using contact lenses for two to three weeks, Titiyal added.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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