Public Urged To Prevent Red-Eye Syndrome

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health reminded people to guard against acute conjunctivitis (red-eye syndrome) and adopt healthy habits when going swimming.

The latest sentinel surveillance system by CHP showed that the consultation rates of acute conjunctivitis at private clinics had recently increased from 4.5 to 7.2 per 1 000 consultations in the week ending August 2. The corresponding figures for the previous two weeks were 4.1 and 4.5.

The figures recorded at general out-patient clinics were at the baseline level of 1.3 per 1 000 consultations in the week ending August 2.

A CHP spokesman said no institutional outbreak of acute conjunctivitis has been recorded since May. Nevertheless, CHP is closely monitoring the situation.

He urged people, especially swimmers to strictly observe personal hygiene.

Acute conjunctivitis is a contagious condition mostly caused by bacteria and viruses. The symptoms are irritation, tearing, pain and redness of the eyes. In most cases, full recovery can be expected within one to two weeks with proper treatment.

Transmission usually occurs through direct contact with discharges from the eyes or upper respiratory tracts of infected people, or indirectly through contaminated fingers, clothing and other articles.

To prevent infectious conjunctivitis, the following measures are important:

- Not to share personal items such as towels and toilet articles;

- Not to share eye droppers, eye medicines, eye makeup, contact lens and other items that may come into contact with eyes;

- To minimise hand-to-eye contact; and

- To wash hands frequently and before and after contact with eyes.


When suffering from infectious conjunctivitis, people should:

- Seek early medical attention;

- Refrain from schools, child care centres or workplace until recovery;

- Avoid going to swimming pools;

- Avoid touching or rubbing the infected eyes;

- Wash hands often with soap and water;

- Wash personal items such as bed linens, pillowcases, and towels in hot water and detergent;

- Properly dispose items soiled with eye or respiratory secretions;

- Avoid wearing eye makeup or contact lens; and

- Avoid sharing common articles such as towels and glasses.

Swimmers are reminded to pay special attention to the following:

- Not to swim when suffering from infectious diseases, such as red eye, diarrhoea, hand-foot-mouth disease;

- To take a shower before swimming and to wash hands after using the toilet or changing diapers; and

- To take kids on bathroom breaks.