“Every year around this time there are a lot of conjunctivitis cases as the virus is highly active during this transitional period. However, this year, it seems more like an epidemic,” said Dr Vandana Jain, cornea specialist, Aditya Jyot Hospital. “I see at least 20 patients a day and several of my staff members have contracted it as well,” she added.
Even civic hospitals are seeing a sudden spurt in the number of conjunctivitis cases. “There is a marginal rise in the number of cases and as the incubation period is normally three to four days before the disease manifests itself there may be more coming in,” said Dr M E Yeolekar, dean of King Edward Memorial Hospital, Parel.
The conjunctiva virus at times affects only the respiratory tract, especially the upper respiratory tract. “Many a times the carrier of conjunctiva virus may just suffer from a cold. As it is an air-borne disease it may affect others coming in contact with him, eventually leading to conjunctivitis,” said Dr Anjali Nicholas, professor and head, ophthalmologist department of Nair Hospital.
If not taken care of, it could even lead to something as severe as the blurring of vision. Anita Pherwani, a recruitment officer in a private firm, acquired conjunctivitis—in medical terms, adenovirus keratitis conjunctivitis—last September. She went to a Bandra clinic after symptoms of conjunctivitis showed up and due to the wrong medicines being prescribed to her she started having blurred vision and a year later is still doing rounds at another hospital in order to recover her eyesight. “I could not see clearly with the left eye. My work was hampered as I could not sit for too long in front of the computer,” said Pherwani.
If the right treatment is not given at the earliest possible the person may not just damage the cornea but also develop lid haemorrhage. “Persons who have low immunity or are elderly fall prey to it. Though the haemorrhage resolves and is not fatal, early treatment is advisable to avoid it,” said Dr Nicholas.