The CONJUNCTIVA is a wet mucous membrane, similar to mucous membranes elsewhere in the body. Conjunctiva is the “LINING” of the inner surface of the eyelids and the eyeball beside the clear Cornea Conjunctivitis can be classified as INFECTIOUS or NON-INFECTIOUS and as acute, chronic, or recurrent.
The causes of INFECTIOUS conjunctivitis include * Viruses, * Bacteria, * Chlamydia an *Acanthamoeba.
The causes of NON-INFECTIOUS conjunctivitis include the following:
- Allergy / immunity (e.g. hay fever / atopy, vernal allergy, contact hypersensitivity, contact lens solution reaction/medication allergy, ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (a rare autoimmune disease characterized by recurrent sub epithelial blisters of the skin and mucous membranes), and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
- Mechanical causes / irritants (e.g. eyelashes, contact lenses, foreign bodies, self-inflicted irritation and floppy eyelid syndrome)
- Chemicals / toxins (e.g. medicaments and personal care products.)
- Neoplasia—continuous, unregulated increase in cells growth in a tissue.
Clinical evaluation of conjunctivitis:
The four main clinical features which should be considered in the diagnosis of conjunctivitis are:
- Type of discharge
- Type of conjunctival reaction
- Presence of pseudomembranes or true membranes
- Presence or absence of lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymphnodes).
Early detection of conjunctivitis is important because conjunctivitis can signify serious systemic disease. For example, some types of neonatal conjunctivitis are associated with pneumonia, otitis media or Kawasaki’s disease. In adults, conjunctivitis caused by pemphigoid, gonococcus, and Chlamydia is important to detect early because it is necessary to treat the concomitant systemic disorder. Early detection of conjunctivitis associated with local or systemic neoplasms may be lifesaving.
Counseling is imperative for all contagious varieties of conjunctivitis to minimize and prevent the spread of the disease in the community. Modes of transmission include sexual contact, eye-hand contact, instillation of contaminated droplets, and exposure to airborne pathogens.