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What is eye flu?

Eye flu is an eye disease also known as viral conjunctivitis. It is a common eye infection that we face at some time in life. This infection induces eye irritation and it is a condition when a person has sore eyes.
Viral conjunctivitis can occur in epidemics affected by one of the viruses responsible for the common cold. The condition can occur because of chemicals found in eye drops, cosmetics, or contact lens solution.
A highly contagious disease, conjunctivitis is the swollen or pain caused in the conjunctiva, a thin membrane which covers the front of the eyes. Though eye flu can harm people of all age it’s more common with children.

But few people know and understand what to do and how to protect in case of this problem. Sometimes such infections are caused by something going on in the eyes like dust or dirt. People who wear bad lenses are also more likely to suffer from this infection. This infection starts with one eye, but soon the other eye also catches it. It occurs mostly in cold weather or rainy season. It is a spreading disease that can happen to any person. Once it happens to someone, it also spreads to the people living around it. After infection in the eyes, the eyes first look dark yellow and then after some time the colour of the eyes changes to red.

Symptoms of eye flu

  •  Eyes turn red Itchy eyes and can see swollen eyes
  •  Watery discharge from eyes
  •  Blurred Vision
  • Bleeding from the eye
  •  Lid Swelling
  • Swelling because of inflammation or rubbing
  • A sticky eyelid
  •  Severe itching in eyes or pain in the eyes
  • Soreness and grittiness like sand in the eye
  • Insensitivity to sunlight or bright light, also known as photophobia

Causes of eye flu

  • Infection in the eye can be because of a virus or bacteria.
  • Viruses that generate eye flu append adenoviruses and some kinds of herpes virus.
  • Bacterial problems involve Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus species etc.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis is sometimes created by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) like Chlamydia. If signs do not fade after a month, this may mean an STI has occurred.
  • Most different kinds of bacterial conjunctivitis will settle with more immediate treatment. Infective conjunctivitis is very infectious and can quickly be passed on to another person.
  • Pink eye in newborns can be because of eye-flu infection, irritation, or a blocked tear duct. Sometimes bacteria or a virus is transferred on from the mother during delivery, even if she does not have symptoms. The bacteria or virus may be linked to an STI.
  • If a newborn has bacterial conjunctivitis of Chlamydia signs usually seen in 5 to 12 days after delivery. If the bacteria is due to gonorrhoea, they normally can be seen after 2 to 4 days.

Types of eye flu or conjunctivitis

eye flu

There are 3 different types of eye flu, depending on the cause.

Viral conjunctivitis

  • Viral conjunctivitis is the most usual cause of infectious conjunctivitis.
  • This infection is also common in adults than in children. About 65–90% of eye flu infections are caused by adenovirus. Irregularly, herpes simplex or zoster virus is responsible. It is another general type of pink eye that is highly infectious as airborne viruses can be reached by sneezing and coughing.
  • Viral conjunctivitis can also follow common viral upper respiratory infections such as measles, the flu or the common cold. It further produces a watery discharge. Typically the virus starts to enter in one eye and soon spreads to the other eye.
  • Treatment of viral conjunctivitis usually involves supportive therapies, such as eye drops, that assist to reduce the symptoms. Treatments normally are maintained for 1-2 weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
  • If there is a sign of herpes simplex or zoster virus then antivirals should be suggested as aciclovir ointment or ganciclovir gel.
  • When viral conjunctivitis is critical or the patient undergoing signs after its analysis, the patient should be referred to an ophthalmologist. This is to examine topical steroids and to eliminate an immune ‘post-viral’ keratitis.

Bacterial conjunctivitis

  • In this, a bacteria infect the eye by various sources of contamination. The bacteria can expand by contact with an infected person, exposure to infected surfaces or by other medians like sinus.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis normally creates a thick eye discharge or pus and can harm one or both eyes.
  • The usual types of bacteria that create bacterial conjunctivitis involves are Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Bacterial conjunctivitis, although a less common cause of conjunctivitis, is more common in children.
  • Just like in any bacterial infection, antibiotics are needed to eliminate the bacteria. Medicine of bacterial conjunctivitis is usually achieved with a topical antibiotic like framycetin sulfate eye drops and eye ointments like Chloramphenicol. The treatment normally takes from 1-2weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.

Gonococcal conjunctivitis

  • This conjunctivitis occurs by Neisseria gonorrhoeae is rare but should be recognised in neonates and sexually active young adults.
  • Antibiotic therapy is the prescribed treatment and ceftriaxone is the drug of option.
  •  Additionally, patients should lavage the infected eye with saline and continue therapy to cover chlamydia. Or patients should go to an ophthalmologist immediately.

Chlamydial conjunctivitis

  • In most cases of chlamydial conjunctivitis are one-sided and have a concurrent genital infection.
  • Signs normally involve conjunctival hyperemia, mucopurulent discharge and lymphoid follicle development. Patients with signs must-visit directly to an ophthalmologist.
  • Oral antibiotics like azithromycin or doxycycline are active treatment.

Allergic conjunctivitis 

  • This red-eye caused by eye allergies is very familiar. Eye allergies can be triggered by allergens involving pollen, animal dander and dust insects.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis can be seasonal or perennial depending on the allergen creating the reaction.
  • The usual sign of allergic conjunctivitis is itchy eyes, which may be removed with special eye drops comprising antihistamines to manage allergic reactions.

Giant papillary conjunctivitis

  • This reddish eye normally affects both eyes and often harm soft contact lens wearers.
  • This state may cause contact lens intolerance, itching, a heavy discharge, tearing and red bumps on the bottom of the eyelids.
  • You require to stop wearing your contact lenses for sometime. Your eye doctor may also suggest that you switch to a separate type of contact lens, to decrease the risk of conjunctivitis.

Diagnosis & test of eye flu

A doctor can diagnose conjunctivitis by examining the symptoms and asking some questions related to eye itching, redness, swelling etc. Treatment for irritant and allergic conjunctivitis is separate from that for an infection.

Some cases of infective conjunctivitis determine within a few days to 2 weeks without treatment, but few may take up to a month. For bacterial conjunctivitis, antibiotics can reduce recovery time and decrease the extent of infection to others.

If symptoms continue for 2 weeks or more, the patient should return to see their doctor, who will reassess the diagnosis and improve the treatment.

The doctor may take a swab from the infected eye, for examination in a lab. Understanding what type of bacteria is creating the infection and suggest proper treatment. But, most doctors do not do this examination.

Few facts of eye flu

• The eye-infection is generated by virus infection like adenovirus, herpes, simples virus, myxovirus and pox virus.
• The virus is highly infectious, so if somebody around you is infected there is a high chance of you getting contaminated. So take proper care to avoid the infection.
• There is a myth that the virus spreads just by staring into the eyes of an infected person. But this is not right.
• If somebody touches the infected eyes the fingers get infected and if these fingers come in contact with another person’s eyes he/she may get infected.
• One may also get affected by a swimming pool.

Prevention

The chance of catching or carrying on infective conjunctivitis can be overcome by:

  • Not touching or rubbing the eyes
  • Washing the hands regularly with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer
  • Always removing contact lenses before sleeping
  • Retaining eyeglasses clean
  • Not sharing personal items such as towels and pillows, makeup and contact lenses with different people
  • Using goggles in a swimming pool, and not swimming if you have an infection
  • Avoid swimming which has regular chlorination of water.
  • Clean your eyes with fresh water 2-3 times a day.
  • Avoid using the same towel or handkerchief if used already.

Treatment

  • Mostly in few cases of infective conjunctivitis, the doctor suggests waiting as the eye infection resolve without treatment within 2 weeks. They may direct eye drops with decongestants or antihistamine to decrease the signs of swelling and irritation.
  • Antibiotics will not work if in cases of viral, and even a bacterial infection may last up to a month with antibiotics. However, medicines may be prescribed if symptoms are critical.
    The most usually prescribed medicines for infective conjunctivitis are fluoroquinolones, sulfonamides, chloramphenicol etc.
  • Apply dark goggles.
  • Close your eyes and apply ice covered in a cloth covering the eyelids.
  • Apply anti-allergic eye drops 3 times a day.

Self-care

  • Contact lenses: Avoid applying lenses until at least 24 hours after antibiotic therapy finishes. Then throw away that lens and replace the lenses, lens case, and solution with a new one.
  • Artificial tear eye drops can be purchased over the counter (OTC) or online to assist reduce soreness and stickiness.
  • A washcloth dipped in warm water can be applied several times a day, to mildly clean away any sticky elements. Do this lightly, to avoid burning the eyes. Use a clean washcloth for both eyes.

Home Remedy for Eye flu

eye flu

  • Rosewater: Washing eyes with rose water reduces eye infection. Apply two drops of rose water to the eyes and applying it twice daily.
  •  Hot water: Washing the eye with the use of light hot water removes the dirt that accumulates above the eyes. Take out the hot water in a vessel and cool it lightly, and you can also wash your eyes directly with that warm water, which will bring out the dirt in the eye.
  •  Amla juice: Grind 3 to 4 gooseberry fruit powder and extract its juice. Drink that juice in a glass of water. Amla juice should be used on an empty stomach in the morning and twice a day before sleeping at night.
  •  Use of honey and water: Mix 2 teaspoons of honey in a glass of water. Then hit the water in the open eyes with a sharp blow from your hand.
  •  Spinach and carrot juice: Grind 4 or 5 leaves of spinach and squeeze its juice. Grind 2 carrots and extract the juice. Fill half a cup of water in a glass and drink carrot and spinach juice mixed in it. By doing this daily, eye infection starts to decrease. Spinach and carrot juice are very beneficial for eye infections as the vitamins found in them are very important for the eyes.
  •  Turmeric and hot water: Heat 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix that turmeric in a glass of warm water. Clean the eyes with the help of cotton. The eyes should be wiped with cotton after mixing turmeric in warm water.
  •  Potatoes: Cut a potato into thin pieces. Put the chopped potato on your eyes for 10 minutes before sleeping at night, then remove it. Potato contains a high amount of starch, that cure eye infection.

Conclusion

Eye Flu It is very common especially during the rainy season. It is not dangerous and removes within a week or so without transmitting any permanent damage to the eye. They can easily be eliminated if wear dark goggles and apply anti-allergic eye drops 3 – 4 times a day as prescribed by a doctor.

For preventing eye flu and for any eye surgery do visit our eye hospital in Delhi, it provides the best treatment for eyes. We offer various services like Retina SurgerySpecs RemovalCataract Surgery, and much more.

This blog has been shared by EyeMantra, to raise awareness about the eye flu and its prevention and treatment tips.

To get your eye checked thoroughly from an expert ophthalmologist, you can make a booking at +91-8851044355. Or mail at  [email protected]

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