Conjunctivitis

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Conjunctivitis :

  also referred to as Pinkeye.  Is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, conjunctivitis usually occurs as benign, self-limiting pinkeye.  It may also be chronic, possibly indicating degenerative changes or damage from repeated acute attacks. 

Cause:  Includes bacterial, viral, and chlamydial infection.  Less common causes are parasitic disease, and rarely, fungal infection, allergy, or occupational irritants. 

Symptoms:

Red or Pinkish color to affected eye (hyperemia of the conjunctiva)

Discharge (mucopurulent  (pus with mucous ) with bacterial infection, and minimal with viral infection)

Tearing

pain

Photophobia with corneal involvement

Itching and burning

Sensation of a foreign body in the eye

In children:  an accompanying sore throat or fever is possible.

Treatment:

Treatment of conjunctivitis varies with the cause.

Bacterial conjunctivitis requires topical application of antibiotic or sulfonamide.

Viral conjunctivitis resists treatment, but sulfonamide of broad spectrum antibiotic eyedrops may prevent secondary infection.

Herpes simplex keratitis usually responds to treatment with idoxuridine or vidarabine ointment, but the infection may persist for 2 to 3 weeks.

Vernal (allergic) conjunctivitis includes a vssoconstrictor eyedrops, cold compresses to relieve itching, and occasionally, oral antihistamines.

Instillation of 1% silver nitrate or erythromycin into the eyes of newborns prevents gonococcal or chlamydial conjunctivitis.

Patient teaching:  Proper hand washing technique is important.  Wash hands before and after applying antibiotic drops/ointment to eye.

Do not irrigate the eye; this will spread infection.

Use clean wash cloth.  Do not share towels, washcloth and pillows (as a preventative measure to eliminate the risk of spreading the infection)

Apply warm compresses and therapeutic ointment or drops, as ordered.

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