Abdul Sattar

Mardan, Pakistan: Conjunctivitis has gripped Mardan, and it is spreading like wildfire. Safia, a resident of Mardan, shares her experience with this eye ailment. She noticed her right eye turning red a few days ago, followed by inflammation and excessive tearing. To her dismay, her child’s eye was also affected the next day.

Safia recounted her visit to an eye specialist who diagnosed the condition as conjunctivitis, explaining that it spreads easily from one person to another. Unfortunately, her son contracted it from her. The doctor assured her that while there was no need to panic, they should exercise caution for a week and use prescribed medication for recovery. Safia noted that conjunctivitis has become prevalent among both adults and children in their neighborhood.

Dr. Muhammad Bilal, the Assistant Professor in charge of the eye treatment department at Management Teaching Hospital Mardan, shed light on the situation. He mentioned that due to a viral outbreak, conjunctivitis has affected a significant number of people, with up to fifty patients visiting the outpatient department daily.

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Dr. Bilal explained that conjunctivitis, much like a common cold, is highly contagious. It can spread from one person to another, potentially infecting the other eye or people in close proximity. The virus is present in the discharge from the infected eye, emphasizing that individuals should avoid touching this discharge or using a shared towel. Instead, they should use tissue paper for cleaning and promptly dispose of it. Frequent handwashing with soap and rinsing the eye with fresh or cold water are essential precautions.

Dr. Bilal further highlighted that conjunctivitis typically resolves on its own within a week, and patients should refrain from using eye drops without consulting an eye specialist if they experience discomfort.

Renowned ophthalmologist Professor Dr. Zia Muhammad weighed in on the situation, underscoring conjunctivitis as a viral ailment easily transmitted from person to person. He noted an increase in conjunctivitis cases at clinics, explaining that the virus often affects one eye initially. If an infected hand touches the other eye, it can also become infected. Patients may experience a sensation of a foreign object in the eye, along with mild discomfort.

In rural and urban areas alike, Professor Zia Muhammad advised against seeking medication or high-dose steroids for the eyes of unrelated individuals, as this could exacerbate eye infections. Conjunctivitis, like other viral diseases, can affect individuals of all ages and occur throughout the year.

This serves as a reminder to remain vigilant in safeguarding eye health and practicing proper hygiene to prevent the spread of this contagious eye condition.