For 40-year old, Nethra (name changed) the day began as it usually does, but just as she was ready to leave to work, she noticed that her eyes were watery and had turned red. She then received a call from her son’s school and was informed that he was unable to attend class due to eye pain and watery eyes, and that the principal suggested that he be taken home. A couple of days passed and home remedies with rose water only seemed to make the condition worse. She then took an appointment with an eye specialist and both mother and son were diagnosed with viral conjunctivitis (pink eye).

About five to six cases are reported every day in most eye hospitals every day and with summer set to peak in few more days, and based on previous trends, these eye specialists say that the cases may go up to 15 a day.

Dr Kaushik Murali, president medical administration, Sankara Eye Foundation says, every day for the past fortnight, the dry weather leaves one more prone to allergic infection and infection upon contact spreads fast in bacterial conjunctivitis.

"Conjunctivitis or Pink eye or Madras Eye, is an inflammation of the white part of the eye (conjunctiva). This could be due to allergy or infection (bacterial or viral). The viral type is often associated with an upper respiratory tract infection, cold, or sore throat. The common myth is that it spreads by seeing a person with conjunctivitis. It spreads purely by contact," he said.

Like the common cold, there is no cure for viral conjunctivitis; however, the symptoms can be relieved in mild cases with cool compresses and artificial tears (found in most pharmacies). For serious cases which may present itself with severe light sensitivity and may cause infection of the cornea (front transparent structure of the eye), topical drops/ointment may be prescribed to reduce discomfort from inflammation. Viral conjunctivitis usually disappears within 3 weeks.

Dr Murali tell us what one must do to avoid spread of the disease:

Firstly, if you wake up with red sticky eyes, see your eye specialist


Wash hands frequently

Avoid physical contact with others

Avoid touching your face

Don’t share towels or washcloths

Do not use handkerchiefs (use a tissue/cotton instead)

Don’t self-medicate