Health authorities in Fiji have seen the number of conjunctivitis, or “pink eye” cases in one district of Suva jump to 5,000 cases in two weeks, according to a Radio New Zealand report today.

Conjunctivitis or pink eye
Image/Video Screen Shot

According to the health ministry’s communicable disease advisor, Mike Kama, this is equivalent to the number of cases the entire island reports annually.

“You know personal sanitation is primary and that is what we are trying to advise to the community instead of running for antibiotics which is probably unnecessary at this point in time if it is a virus,” said Dr Kama. “It should really take its course and personal sanitation is really important to adhere to.”

Pink eye, or Conjunctivitis, is a common eye ailment caused by an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the clear, thin membrane that covers the white portion of the eyes as well as the inner surface of the eyelids.

The three common causes of pink eye are viral, bacterial and allergic. The symptoms of each form are listed below:

Viral Conjunctivitis Symptoms

• Watery eyes accompanied with discharge are usual.
• Discomfort in the eye with itchiness maybe present.
• The infection usually affects one eye but can move to both.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis Symptoms

• Watery eyes followed with yellow or green discharge are natural occurrences.
• Irritation can be found along with an itchy feeling.
• The infection usually starts with one eye and can spread to the other.

Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms

• Heavy tearing, discomfort, and itchiness affecting both eyes are especially likely.

Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are very contagious. Only bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotics.