23 October 2010
By Sumati Yengkhom
The conjunctivitis virus appears to be getting more aggressive this time around. Not only is the infection taking longer to heal, in many cases it is affecting the cornea, causing temporary blurring of vision. In some severe instances, blurring may persist as long as a year.
An infected person need not normally see an eye doctor because the ailment does not require any treatment as such. But this time, city ophthalmologists have reported an increasing number of patients with inflammation and irritation in the cornea, a condition called keratitis. In simple conjunctivitis, inflammation occurs only in the outermost layer of the eye called conjunctiva. When both conjunctiva and cornea are infected, it is called keratoconjunctivitis.
Adeno, the virus that causes conjunctivitis, does not usually attack the cornea. But this year, it is infiltrating the cornea, with infection leaving the patient with a spot in the cornea and causing temporary blurring of vision.
"The adeno strain virus is more virulent this time. The infection in many cases is reaching the cornea, causing blurring of vision. If not treated properly and in time, it may take months or even a year before normal vision is restored," said eye surgeon Ajanta Sinha.
On an average, about two in every 10 patients with conjunctivitisrelated problems have been found to be suffering from keratocomjunctivitis. Since people are not aware of the condition and its consequences, they go to a doctor only when the problem gets worse.
While it takes four to seven days for conjunctivitis to go away, the infection may persist longer if the cornea is infected. Doctors advised people to consult an ophthalmologist immediately if they experienced blurring of vision even till after 10–12 days.
Conjunctivitis normally infects people during July–August, when monsoon is at its peak. But this time, it is affecting people in October as well. Delayed rains could be the reason, doctors pointed out.
"Though there is no particular season for conjunctivitis, the infection is often associated with the rainy season. The reason behind the attack at this time of the year could be the delayed rains," said eye surgeon and MMiC, health, Partha Pratim Hazari.
It’s An Eyesore
- In simple conjunctivitis, inflammation occurs in the outermost layer of the eye called conjunctiva
- When there is inflammation and irritation in the cornea, it is called keratitis
- If both conjunctiva and cornea are infected, it is called keratoconjunctivitis
- Infection of the cornea can cause temporary blurring of vision, sometimes lasting a year
- Conjunctivitis usually attacks around July–August, but delayed rains this year seem to be making people suffer even in October