Conjunctivitis is one of the most common nontraumatic eye complaints. The term refers to an acute inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the outermost layer of the eye and covers the inner surface of the eyelids. The most common causes of conjunctivitis are allergic reactions and infections – viral or bacterial. Both bacterial and viral infections are contagious.
Symptoms common to all forms of conjunctivitis are: irritation, redness, and watering. The eyes may be sore, itchy, burning, and painful.
If the cause is a bacterial infection (especially pyogenic – pus-producting bacteria), the eye may discharge a stringy, opaque, white-yellow, or greyish sticky pus. It may crust on the eyelashes and cause the lids to stick together, especially after sleep. Pruritus may be felt occasionally. Patient may also have a feeling of having a foreign body in the eye. The onset of the infection is usually acute. One should also remember that these symptoms are not essential to the diagnosis of bacterial conjunctivitis – some bacteria do not cause severe symptoms. Non-pyogenic infections may be difficult to diagnose, but in fact they tend to be mild.
Viral conjunctivitis, commonly known as ‘pink eye’ is characterized by acute or subacute onset. Pruritus is very common and one of the typical symptoms is watery and clear discharge. Viral infection of the conjunctiva is often associated with an infection of the upper respiratory tract. The most common pathogen causing viral conjunctivitis is adenoviruses. Herpes simplex infections of the conjunctiva require much attention. They often clear without any permanent problem. However, in some cases they may cause scarring to the cornea and lead to permanent loss of vision. Prompt treatment with antiviral eye ointment or drops helps to prevent corneal scarring.
In 65% of cases conjunctivitis resolves without treatment within 2-5 days. In the allergic and viral type of conjunctivitis cold compresses and artificial tears may bring some relief. In severe cases of allergic conjunctivitis non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, antihistamines, or sometimes steroids may be prescribed. In the bacterial type of the conjunctiva infection antibiotics (usually in drops or ointment) are used.
EXERCISE. CHOOSE TRUE OR FALSE.
1. Viral conjunctivitis may be transmitted by bodily contact with an infected person.
2. Pyogenic infections tend to be mild.
3. Pruritus and watering are common symptoms of viral conjunctivitis.
4. Herpes simplex infections of the conjunctiva may cause blindness.
5. Steroids are used in the first-line treatment of allergic conjunctivitis.
- conjunctivitis [kəndʒʌŋktəˈvaɪtɪs] – zapalenie spojówek
- conjunctiva [kɒndʒʌŋkˈtaɪvə] – spojówka
- nontraumatic [nʌntrəˈmætɪk] – nieurazowy
- outermost [ˈaʊtərmoʊst] – najbardziej zewnętrzny
- eyelid [ˈaɪlɪd] – powieka
- contagious [kənˈteɪdʒəs] – zakaźny
- irritation [ɪrɪˈteɪʃən] – podrażnienie
- redness [ˈrɛdnɪs] – zaczerwienienie
- watering [ˈwɔtərɪŋ] – łzawienie
- pyogenic [paɪəˈdʒɛnɪk] – ropotwórczy
- pus [pʌs] – ropa
- to discharge [tə dɪsˈtʃɑrdʒ] – wypływać
- stringy [ˈstrɪŋi] – ciągnący się
- opaque [oʊˈpeɪk] – nieprzezroczysty
- to crust [tə krʌst] – zasklepiać, pokrywać skorupą
- pruritus [prʊˈraɪtəs] – świąd
- to scar [tə skɑr] – kaleczyć, uszkadzać
- cornea [ˈkɔrniə] – rogówka
- prompt [prɒmpt] – natychmiastowy, szybki
- artificial [ɑrtəˈfɪʃəl] – sztuczny
Correct answers: true, false, true, true, false
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