Acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis is a severe eye infection caused by viruses such as coxsackie, enterovirus, or the Epstein-Barr virus. Here are four things you need to know about this infection.
What are the symptoms?
If you have acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, you will have sore, red, swollen eyes. Watery eyes and the feeling that something is stuck in your eye can also occur. Additionally, many people with this infection experience subconjunctival hemorrhaging, bleeding beneath the white part of the eye. This bleeding makes the white of your eye look bright red which can be quite alarming. These symptoms usually last for anywhere between three and seven days. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to see your optometrist immediately for treatment.
Is it contagious?
Acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis is incredibly contagious. Studies have shown that each person infected with the virus spreads it to about four more people, which allows it to spread exponentially.
You can get it through person-to-person contact with someone who has the infection. You can also get it by using objects that are contaminated with the virus, like towels or makeup brushes. People can be infected with the virus for as long as 48 hours without showing any symptoms, so even if someone looks healthy, you could still catch acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis from them.
How is it treated?
This infection is usually self-limited, which means that it tends to go away by itself. However, this doesn't mean that no treatments are available. Your optometrist can give you medicated eye drops to ease your symptoms while you heal. You may also be told to hold warm compresses against your eyes. You should start feeling better in five to seven days and should be completely recovered after one to two weeks. Your optometrist will want to schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure that you're recovering properly and aren't suffering from any complications.
How common is acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis?
It's hard for researchers to estimate how common acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis is because of how contagious it is and its occurrence in epidemics. Researchers do know that it's less common in America than in developing countries. The disease is more common in the southwestern region of the United States than in other parts of the country. It can affect people of any age, but it usually affects children in their early teens.
If you think you have acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, see an optometrist like Baldwin Optical & Hearing Aid Co. right away.