The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eye doctors sound infection red alert

If your eyes are itching and hurting, contact your nearest ophthalmologist at once. For, conjunctivitis has made a comeback.

The Jai Bangla (or ‘red eye’) syndrome has struck, with nearly 35 patients out of 100 turning up at eye clinics with the common complaint.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva or transparent membrane covering the white portion of the eye. Though common during the monsoon due to the humidity in the air, this time a particular type causing “haemorrhage” in the eyes is also evident.

“Normally, during this time of the year, we do get more conjunctivitis cases, but this year we have been receiving at least 20 per cent more complaints,” says ophthalmologist P.B. Sarkar.

The infection, say doctors, stays for seven to 10 days and administering antibiotic drops is part of the treatment process. With long conjunctivitis queues being spotted at hospitals like the Regional Institute of Opthalmology, Medical College and Hospital, RG Kar Medical College and Hospital and SSKM Hospital, eye doctors have sounded an alert.

Topping the doctor’s list of don’ts is using bare hands to rub or touch one’s eyes. In case of itching, doctors insist on the use of a clean handkerchief, to reduce risk of the bacterial infection.

“Prevention is, of course, better than cure and we are urging patients to be extremely careful if someone in the house is down with the infection,” said ophthalmologist Biplab Saha of Susrut Eye Foundation in Salt Lake.

Since the infection can be transmitted through almost all things used by a conjunctivitis patient, others must not use them for at least seven days.

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