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Chennai: The unprecedented spike in conjunctivitis has become a new health emergency in Chennai. According to the Tamil Nadu health department, around 4500 cases of the eye disease, which is popularly called ‘Madras Eye’, are being reported from various parts of the state. Chennai alone reported nearly 100 daily cases of the infection. The state Health Minister Ma Subramanian said that the health authorities are on high alert. He cautioned against self-medication and warned that the wrong procedures would lead to loss of vision.
“The medication for conjunctivitis is subjective from person to person. If the wrong medicine is used, it would worsen the condition and may cause loss of vision. Don’t go for self-medication and don’t use medicine prescribed to other family members,” the minister said.
The health department has directed all the government hospitals to treat patients separately and display awareness boards or placards on conjunctivitis, Subramanian added.
Health Minister Ma Subramanian
According to the official estimate, Chennai has witnessed a five-fold increase in the eye disease recently with clusters being formed in schools, residential areas, colonies, and flat complexes. Some hospitals in the city has started exclusive wards for treating patients with the infection.
Ophthalmologists warned that the infection, which is common when there is a transition from summer to monsoon, is expected to go up in the coming days. Since the beginning of the seasonal change around 1.50 lakh patients were treated for the infection, however, no loss of vision was reported so far.
The Madras Eye disease happens due to certain bacterial or viral infections leading to an odd inflammation of the conjunctiva. Redness, watery eyes, itching, swelling, and sticking together of eyelids are common symptoms of the disease. Conjunctivitis is extremely contagious and is transmitted to anyone who comes in contact with eye secretions from an infected patient.