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Updated: December 13, 2013 00:23 IST

My eye! ‘Madras Eye’ is spreading

M. Sai Gopal
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Viral conjunctivitis cases on the rise in city, and winter is to blame

Cases of viral conjunctivitis or ‘Madras Eye’, a highly contagious but self-limiting eye ailment, are on the rise in the capital. The prevailing cold weather is providing the ideal condition for the proliferation of adenovirus, which is responsible for viral conjunctivitis, according to experts.

More cases are being reported at the State-run Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital, Mehdipatnam, and clinics across the city.

“Conjunctivitis is viral in nature and has become seasonal. In cold weather, the adenovirus multiplies rapidly, and the public should take precautions,” said S.D. Eye Hospital Superintendent Dr. P. V. Nanda Kumar Reddy.

Ophthalmologists point out that like common cold, which usually runs its course for three to four days, viral conjunctivitis, too, runs its course, which is between a week and 10 days. Patients with red eyes and swollen eyelids and watering, irritation, mild pain and discomfort in the eyes should visit an eye specialist immediately, as, on occasions, conjunctivitis is known to damage the cornea.

Patients should avoid touching their eyes and shaking hands and sharing towels with infected persons.

“Usually, we prescribe eye drops. Viral conjunctivitis is self-limiting, and usually the eyes get clear on their own after a few weeks,” Dr. Reddy said.

Sometimes bacterial infection also sets in when patients frequently use the handkerchief to wipe eyes, causing a thick yellowish white discharge. Owing to the contagious nature of the infection, patients must wear dark glasses, besides staying away from public places to prevent it from spreading.

“We have not seen any complications arising from conjunctivitis among patients this year. However, we are advising our patients to take precautions so that the virus does not spread quickly and infect others. The usual treatment is eye drops and lots of rest,” Dr. Reddy said.

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