Viral conjunctivitis – the most common eye infections
Viral conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye infections.
The most common causes are:
- Adeno viruses
- Herpes viruses (Herpes Simplex Virus, Varcella Zoster Virus)
- Picorna viruses (Coxsackie viruses, Enteroviruses)
- Corona viruses
- Rash fever viruses (Measles, Rubella, Varicella)
They are transmitted by droplets (by air or contact), by hands, and the first symptoms, depending on the type of virus, begin 1-12 days after contact with an infected person.
The main symptoms and signs are:
- redness of the eyes
- burning, scratching (feeling of a foreign body in the eye)
- increased lacrimation
- sensitivity to light
- eyelid swelling
- blurred vision
Symptoms from one eye soon pass to the other eye. They are often accompanied by elevated body temperature, increased secretion from the nose, sneezing, coughing, loss of appetite, weakness, malaise, headache, swelling of the lymph nodes… In rash fevers, skin changes also appear, i.e. measles.
Viral conjunctivitis can be complicated by a secondary bacterial infection, whereby the secretion becomes yellowish, greenish, collects on the eyelashes and the corners of the eyes, the eyelids become blind, and besides the conjunctiva, other parts of the eye, most often the cornea, are also affected by the inflammation.
The diagnosis is made mainly on the basis of the clinical picture, with a biomicroscope examination by an ophthalmologist (detailed examination of the eyelids, lid margins, iris – type of reaction of the iris, cornea, presence and types of secretion).
How to protect yourself?
- take care of hand hygiene – regularly wash hands with soap, use disinfectants
- do not touch your face and eyes
- avoid contact with infected persons
- use a separate towel for the face and hands, i.e. do not share it with family members/ when possible use disposable towels
- wear protective masks
- wear glasses
- get vaccinated (especially important for measles)
There is no specific therapy for viral eye infections!
In addition to general measures (rest, increased fluid intake, antipyretics), it is important to use appropriate therapy for viral conjunctivitis. It is recommended to wash the eye with a 3% solution of boric acid or with a 1% solution of povidone iodine, sometimes using antibiotic drops or ointments in order to prevent secondary bacterial conjunctivitis, while the use of corticosteroids is not recommended except in cases of corneal infiltrates, but this must be prescribed by ophthalmologist.