A sight of sore eyes – Conjunctivitis

Pink, itchy eyes? Pink eye or conjunctivitis is common and spreads easily. It sometimes needs medical treatment, depending on the cause. Know the symptoms, when to seek treatment, and how to help prevent it.

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in children and adults. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish color.

The most common causes of conjunctivitis are viruses, bacteria, and allergens. But there are other causes, including chemicals, fungi, certain diseases, and contact lens wear (especially wearing lenses overnight). The conjunctiva can also become irritated by foreign bodies in the eye and by indoor and outdoor air pollution caused, for example, by chemical vapors, fumes, smoke, or dust.

It can be hard to determine the exact cause of every case of conjunctivitis. This is because some symptoms of the condition may be similar depending on the cause.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis can include:-

  • Pink or red color in the white of the eye(s) (often one eye for bacterial and often both eyes for viral or allergic conjunctivitis)
  • Increased tearing
  • Discharge of pus, especially yellow-green (more common in bacterial conjunctivitis)
  • Itching, irritation, and/or burning
  • Feeling like a foreign body is in the eye(s) or an urge to rub the eye(s)
  • Crusting of eyelids or lashes sometimes occurs, especially in the morning
  • Symptoms of a cold, flu, or other respiratory infection may also be present
  • Symptoms of allergy, such as an itchy nose, sneezing, a scratchy throat, or asthma may be present in cases of allergic conjunctivitis
  • Contact lenses that do not stay in place on the eye and/or feel uncomfortable due to bumps that may form under the eyelid.

Conjunctivitis caused by allergens is not contagious; however, viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can be easily spread from person to person and can cause epidemics. You can greatly reduce the risk of getting conjunctivitis or of passing it on to someone else by following some simple good hygiene steps.

If you have infectious (viral or bacterial) conjunctivitis, you can help limit its spread to other people by following these steps:-

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
  • Wash hands after applying eye drops or ointment.
  • Wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels in hot water and detergent; hands should be washed after handling such items.
  • Avoid sharing items like towels, blankets, and pillowcases.
  • Clean eyeglasses, being careful not to contaminate items (like towels) that might be shared by other people.
  • Do not share eye makeup, face make-up, make-up brushes, contact lenses and containers, or eyeglasses.
  • Do not use swimming pools.

Conjunctivitis is a common disorder, especially amongst young. Good hygiene practices such as washing hands frequently can prevent the spread of conjunctivitis. If you have any symptoms that indicate you may be suffering from conjunctivitis, see your GP or optometrist.

 

Dr. (Captain) Vikram Krishan Mohindra

MBBS, MNAMS, MS

Specialist in Ophthalmology

Aster Hospital, Mankhool

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Nazar (Vision) – An initiative taken by Aster DM Healthcare

Dubai’s construction industry employs several South Asian workers, most of them uneducated. Through The Nazar (Vision) Initiative Aster Healthcare set out to educate these workers on the importance of eye care by encouraging them to undergo an eye test using a pictorial eye chart.

With an average monthly income of $220 and 12-hour work shifts, the workers neither have the money nor the time to take care of their health. In the long run, their health suffers, especially their eyesight. Aster Healthcare wanted to undertake a CSR initiative that’ll encourage these workers to undergo an eye test. However, the biggest challenge was that most of these workers are uneducated and hence the traditional ‘Snellen Eye Chart’ was of little use. So we created icons of equipment used in the construction industry. Later on, using these icons we designed an eye chart that was technically right and worked as effectively as the traditional ‘Snellen Eye Chart’. Several of these eye charts were then distributed in ‘Do It Yourself’ Eye Test Kits, to workers across Dubai. Since, the workers were familiar with the equipment they could easily identify them.

Those with poor eyesight were sent to Aster Optical where they underwent a thorough eye examination. After which, they received free eyes glasses along with the Eye Chart, the kit also contained a 1 M measuring tape (to measure the right distance of 6 meters) and an Aster ‘Free Eye Check Up’ Token.

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Joint ache in winter

As we all know that during the winter season the pain threshold is less compared to the summer season. Changes in temperature or barometric pressure, a measure that refers to the weight of the surrounding air, trigger joint pain, though researchers aren’t entirely sure why. Researchers at Tufts University in Boston reported that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in arthritis pain. At the Aster orthopaedics and physiotherapy medical centre in Dubai we have witnessed an increase in the number of joint pain during the last few months as the temperature dropped. The pain symptoms are mainly more in the elderly and patients with rheumatoid. There are many hypothetical theories to the cause of pain are as follow

  1. The change in pressure alters the pressure inside the joint. It has been shown that pressure inside a joint equalizes itself to air pressure. (As an aside is this why flying makes many people feel so bad and it’s not just the cramped conditions causing us to stiffen up?).
  2. Ambient temperature affects blood flow around the body. When it is cold blood is diverted away from our limbs to our torso and head to keep our vital organs warm. Less blood will affect our muscles, so making our joints even stiffer and so more painful.
  3. Cold affects our nerve endings, making us more sensitive to the pain in a painful joint.
  4. The psychological effect. Bad weather makes us miserable. When we are miserable there is a psychosomatic reflex.

Thus these are the put forth hypothesis for the cause of pain increase during the winter season, although researchers are not sure. Another part of the skeletal system which we have observed is the spine with high frequency of spasm and strain during the winter.

Last but not least we should forget about the Raynaund disease causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers and toes — to feel numb and cold in response to cold temperatures or stress. Women are more likely than men to have Raynaud’s disease, also known as Raynaud or Raynaud’s phenomenon or syndrome. It appears to be more common in people who live in colder climates. This phenomenon is less seen in Dubai though although it can be considered in few individual of distal joint pains.

To conclude importance of warm clothing and good hydration play an important role in reducing the chance of joint ache and skeletal pain during the cold seasons, with a good value of Vitamin D in blood. Avoiding sleeping under AC vents, is also important factor to prevent sudden spasm and ache.

 

Dr. Prem James Charles,

MBBS, MS(Ortho), FAEM

Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon

 

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