Conjunctivitis also termed as pink eye in the United States and Madras eyes in India is caused due to infection or inflammation of the transparent membrane that covers the part of eyeball and inner surface of eyelids. The name Madras eye was originated in 20th century when adenovirus was discovered in India. Conjunctivitis is most commonly caused due to viral or bacterial infection, exposure to chemical or irritants or allergic reaction. Allergic conjunctivitis is known to be caused due to allergens such as cosmetic smoke, dust mites, pollen, perfumes and balsam of peru. Blurred vision, redness of eye, sensitivity to light, watering or itching of both the eyes, watery discharge from one or both the eyes and feeling of grittiness in one or both the eyes are the major symptoms witnessed in individuals suffering from conjunctivitis.
It is a highly contagious disease and is easily spread through sharing of objects like towel and poor washing of hands. The infection can also spread through sneezing or coughing. Thus, kids or adults diagnosed with pink eye are recommended not travel to public places for that period of time. However, conjunctivitis caused due to allergens (caused due to seasonal pollens, cosmetics and perfumes) or chemicals (chemicals, liquids such as furniture polish or bleach) are not contagious. Although, conjunctivitis caused by infections is highly contagious but it does not cause any serious health problem if diagnosed at an early stage. But, if the disease is left untreated then it can lead to permanent vision loss or other serious eye problem. Keratoconjunctivitis is a combination of conjunctivitis and inflammation of cornea while, blepharoconjunctivitis is a combination of inflammation of the cornea and conjunctivitis.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is one of the major eye problem encountered worldwide and are caused by bacteria’s such as Moraxella and Chlamydia trachomatis. These bacteria’s are responsible for causing persistent conjunctivitis with higher level of redness. Similarly, Staphylococci and Streptococci are witnessed to cause non acute bacterial conjunctivitis. Moreover, bacteria’s such as β-hemolytic streptococci, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Corynebacterium diphtheriae are other bacterias that are responsible for the production of membranes or psuedomembranes in bacterial conjunctivitis. Most of the cases of bacterial conjunctivitis are acute and self limiting and not a major cause of serious health problem however; due to its high prevalence the infection can have large impact on the society as individuals tend to miss their school or work. Thus, antibiotic, pills, ointment or eyedrops are given to clear the infection. Furthermore, if antibiotics are not showing proper response then swabs for bacterial culture are examined in the laboratories. Generally, fluoroquinolones, macrolides, amynoglycosides, phenicols are prescribed for the treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis. Similarly, tetracyclines or doxycycline are also prescribed for the treatment of infection caused due to Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis.
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Conjunctivitis is an extremely common condition with high incidence and low prevalence. The disease can be treated on its own. Hence, exact estimate of epidemlology of this disease is a challenge. However, as per the statistics published by government authority in the U.S approximately 5 million cases of bacterial conjunctivitis are reported due to increasing number of bacterial infections. Moreover, the treatment of disease in the U.S. accounts for approximately USD 589 million annually. It has also been witnessed that out of all the causes of conjunctivitis, bacterial conjunctivitis account for more than 50% of the cases. Thus, rising incidences of bacterial infection would drive the growth of this market.
Allergan, Inc., Merck, Pfizer, Inc., Novartis and others are some of the major players operating in this market segment.