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A few cases of ‘Madras eye’ reported

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R. Sujatha

The problem has not reached epidemic proportions

Doctors at the Government Eye Hospital say patients are given antibiotics for secondary infection

CHENNAI: It is that time of the year when you have to take special care of your eyes. Since last month’s rain more people have been afflicted with conjunctivitis.

The self-limiting viral infection, popularly known as ‘Madras eye,’ affects people with low immunity to the viral strain.

High during monsoon

Doctors in the Government Eye Hospital at Egmore say the infection affects people through the year but the viral activity is high during monsoon as the virus thrives in a humid atmosphere.

Since last week, at least three cases are being reported every day at his clinic, says Ophthalmologist S. Lalith Kumar who runs a clinic in Sowcarpet.

The infection would pick up momentum if there is more rain, he added.

Across the city in several places people have been visiting eye clinics in small numbers.

Doctors say the problem has not reached epidemic proportions yet.

Conjunctivitis begins as a viral infection with people reporting watering in the eye. But it soon turns into a bacterial infection causing muco-purulent (ivory colour) discharge and needs medication.

The inner parts of the eye feel grimy and itchy causing one to rub the eye to ease irritation.

The infected eye also becomes sensitive to light. Usually one eye gets affected and then the next eye is affected.

The infection spreads by ‘droplet’ method and with treatment lasts only for five days. Infected people must stay away from work. It is better to use disposable tissues instead of cloth to dab the eye. This will also prevent the infection from spreading.

Doctors at the Government Eye Hospital say patients are given antibiotics for secondary infection.

Seek medical help

It is important to seek medical help and not opt for over-the-counter drugs as there are different kinds of infection and there is no guarantee that the infection could always be conjunctivitis.

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