Allergic conjunctivitis spreading among children

Watery eyes, itching, irritation and redness with slight swelling are the typical symptoms of conjunctivitis.

Increasing pollution in the city has a definitive bearing on the children. Allergic conjunctivitis cases are on the rise, mostly among the young ones.

According to doctors, this non-contagious disease is increasingly becoming common among children who play outdoors. Watery eyes, itching, irritation and redness with slight swelling are the typical symptoms.

According to Dr K Bhujang Shetty, chairman and managing director, Narayana Nethralaya, the numbers are higher than usual. “We were seeing about 10-15 cases daily on an average at the outpatient section. Now, the numbers are over 20,” he told DH.

“Bengaluru is known to be the allergy capital of the country. Pollen, dust and pollution are the major contributing factors. Most of those affected are children,” Shetty added.

Dr Shetty said conjunctivitis must be seen by a doctor and over-the-counter drops are to be avoided.

Stop self-medication

“Sometimes, patients go to an ophthalmologist and take drops. If there is a relapse of symptoms, they just go to the pharmacy and take the same prescribed drug again. This could be harmful. If it is viral or bacterial, chances are that it can spread. It is usually self-limiting,” he said.

Good hand hygiene - ensuring hands are washed after visiting any place or after using the public transport - and refraining from the use of contact lenses during redness must be ensured, Dr Shetty warned.

With a late onset of rainfall, the city has to a large extent been spared of the viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, doctors explained.

“About 10% of the outpatient department cases among children is of allergic conjunctivitis. It is about 5% in adults,” said Dr Vishvanath B N, associate professor at the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, who’s also the ophthalmologist at the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital.

“Usually, with rains and depression, conjunctivitis cases go up. However, with a late onset of the monsoon, they are yet to see infectious cases in plenty,” Dr Vishvanath added.

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