Little known ways to avoid bacterial conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is characterised typically by watering or sticky, red eyes and develops as a result of a bacterial or viral infection. Bacterial infection in adults is often a consequence of blepharitis and is known as blepharoconjunctivitis. Bacterial infections can also be caught from other people and from animals. In this blog post, I am going to discuss how you can avoid catching bacterial conjunctivitis.
Viral conjunctivitis often follows an upper respiratory tract infection, for example, a cold or flu, and is caused by adenovirus. Again, in this post, I am going to tell you how you can avoid getting adenovirus conjunctivitis by taking just a little care and a few easy steps.
Bacterial conjunctivitis can result from a local infection that you have on your eyelid margins from blepharitis, or an external source may cause it. Preventing blepharitis from becoming blepharoconjunctivitis is relatively easy and is based on keeping your eyelids exquisitely clean.
You can imagine that the combination of dry, dead skin cells with old oils from your meibomian glands – which accumulate on your eyelid margin – can become a biofilm that favours the growth of bacteria unless the ophthalmologist removes this debris from under the eyelids.
The best way to clean the eyelids is with simple hot water, using a warm flannel or cotton wool make-up removal pads. Use warm tap water or water from the kettle that has boiled and cooled. The warm, wet cleaning should be done twice a day: morning and evening.
You can remove the excess biofilm by placing the flannel or make-up removal pads that have been soaked with warm water on to the closed eyelids. Without opening the eyes, you can gently rub the lash roots on the upper and lower eyelids to remove the excess biofilm.
Biofilm can be healthy, and therefore I do not want you to use too much detergent to remove it in case you remove good bacteria. It is normal to have a small number of staphylococcal bacteria sitting on your eyelid margins, as they do on our skin.
However, if there is an overgrowth of this bacteria, or other bacteria, that colonise the lid margins, then it can lead to a different bacterial blepharoconjunctivitis.
It can even lead to marginal keratitis, which is the eye’s immune response with a small corneal ulcer to a low-grade bacterial infection.
There are also proprietary solutions based on micelle solutions that do not contain any other chemicals, which can be used to help to clean the eyelash roots and eyelids, picking up the debris and excess oils. These solutions are available in chemists and the Clinica London shop.
You can transmit bacterial conjunctivitis to the eye in the following ways:
- By hand
- Through animals
- From travelling on the underground and on buses and trains
- By handling money
- By using infected make-up
- By applying false eyelashes
- By using eyelash extensions
- By using swimming pools
Just by becoming aware of these eight common causes you can immediately see how you can avoid conjunctivitis. You can take measures that include frequently washing your hands, particularly after touching animals and travelling on public transport or touching money – including coins and paper or semi-plastic banknotes.
Old make-up can harbour bacteria. False eyelashes can cause an accumulation of natural bacteria and prevent your natural eyelashes from being easily cleaned. Similarly, with lash extensions – which are essentially sheaths placed around your natural lashes – there can be an accumulation of dead skin cells, debris and bacteria within the sheath and at the base of a lash, which can cause secondary bacterial conjunctivitis.
By being aware of these eight points, you can avoid conjunctivitis. If you think you are getting bacterial conjunctivitis, the best thing to do is to immediately start to clean your eyelids and remove all make-up, false eyelashes, lash extensions and general city pollution, countryside and park pollens and to make sure that your eyelids are really clean.
I hope you will find this helpful. If you do have conjunctivitis, we will be happy to help and advise you here at Clinica London.