Tamil Nadu is witnessing a surge in the cases of conjunctivitis as the monsoon draws to an extended end. Amid the humidity, 1.5 lakh have been reported since the onset of the northeast monsoon last month. "Around 4,000 to 4,500 cases are being reported every day across the state," said State Health Minister Ma Subramanian. Chennai alone accounts for 80 to 100 cases daily.
The health department has advised public to isolate themselves if infected and to not resort to self-medication. Common symptoms of conjunctivitis -- also known as Madras Eye, Pink Eye or Eye Flu -- are redness of eyes and a watery, yellow/white discharge, besides pain around the eyes.
Speaking to NDTV, Dr Ashwin Agarwal, Executive Director, Dr Agarwal's Group of Eye Hospitals, said, "Some of these conditions mimic other conditions like acute conjunctive glaucoma. People should check with the nearest ophthalmologist."
He explained that though the infection is highly contagious, it does not spread by merely looking into an infected person's eyes or by talking to them. "It spreads directly by the secretion of the eye when a person touches the eye and then touches a surface or shakes hands. It's best to wash your hands and face at least eight times a day this season," he advised.
Saying that no one has had serious injury or lost sight due to the infection this season, the minister said plans to raise awareness by putting up billboards. Cases will likely to drop by the first week of December. The state has 90 eye hospitals run by the government.