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Understanding Red Eye: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Red Eye

An outbreak of red eye on the 14th March, 2024 has brought much needed attention to red eye.

Conjunctivitis which is commonly known as red eye, is swelling of the outer most part of the eye and inner surface of the eyelid.

People with red eye may experience one or more of the following; redness of the eye, itching of the eye, tearing of the eye, reduced vision, gritty sensation.

It is important to see an eye specialist if you are experiencing any of the above.

Causes of Red Eye

The causes of red eye can’t be exhausted. To mention but a few, bacteria and viruses may infect the eye causing red eye.

Another cause is exposure to irritant like dust or smoke or toxic substances like pesticides and insecticides.

Red eye is contagious and spreads when eyes come into contact with mucous, tears or faeces of an infected person. Houseflies, which are vectors, landing on your eyes is another cause of red eye.

Prevention of Red Eye

Simple measures can prevent you from getting red eye. These measures include wash your hand with soap and clean water regularly, wash your face daily, wash your handkerchieves and towels then ironing. Don’t share towels, wash clothes or handkerchieves with anyone.

During a red eye pandemic, avoid shaking hands and touching your face.

Use disposable tissues for blowing or wiping your noise if you have red eye. This will prevent re-infection.

School children should stay home when they have red eye to avoid the spread of red eye.

Treatment of Red Eye

The cause of red eye will determine the treatment. Treatment include antibiotics or inflammatory drugs.

Bathing the eye lids and eye lashes with boiled cold water removes crust. Cold compresses on the eye reduce inflammation.

In case you develop red eye, see an eye specialist who will determine the best treatment option.

NB: If red eye is not properly treated or managed, it may result into corneal ulcers or wound and in partial blindness.

Protect yourself and your family from contracting red eye.

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