Healthy Living

What are Gonococcal and Chlamydial Conjunctivitis?

What are Gonococcal and Chlamydial Conjunctivitis?

Key Takeaways

  • The sexually active people are at a high risk of both Gonococcal and Chlamydial Conjunctivitis, but individuals of any age group are vulnerable to these types. 
  • Complications will be severe if the cornea is involved or if the conjunctivitis is not treated on time. 
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes unnecessarily.

Conjunctivitis is an infection of the eyes. It is easily contracted, but if treated in the right way, could be cured easily. There are several types of conjunctivitis, and two of them are Gonococcal and Chlamydial Conjunctivitis. These types of conjunctivitis are usually bacterial and may affect one or both eyes. Often, they affect one eye and spread to the other, causing the infection to flare up in both.

The sexually active people are at a high risk of both Gonococcal and Chlamydial Conjunctivitis, but individuals of any age group are vulnerable to these types. Newborns may acquire any of these types from their mothers during the delivery process. When it comes to genders, women have a higher susceptibility to Chlamydial Conjunctivitis, but all genders are equally affected by Gonococcal Conjunctivitis.

There are many ways through which these conditions could be transmitted. Here are some of the risk factors:

  • Contact with a person who is infected. If you are having intimate relations with an infected person, then that infection would soon pass on to you. It is important that you maintain some distance from the infected person so that you do not get infected, as well. Therefore, do not exchange intimate kisses or hugs until the condition clears up.
  • Sharing personal items with a person who already has this condition. If a loved one or a close family member is infected, then do maintain some distance from the person until the condition clears up. It is equally important that you avoid touching the same items they may have touched, since the infection can pass onto you that way. Make it a point not to share clothes, bedding, or even a kerchief with the infected person until the condition clears up, which it will after a while.
  • Practicing unsafe sex. If you practice unsafe sex with an infected person, then the chances of you being infected increases exponentially. If you are planning on getting intimate with a loved one despite his or her infection, make sure that you practice safe sex. However, it would be advisable to refrain from doing so, at least until the infection clears up.
  • Exposure to pathogens that cause STDs. If you are exposed to STDs and pathogens that cause it, then it puts you at risk of acquiring the infection. This is why it is important to make sure that you get yourself checked out by a doctor at the earliest and, as always, practice safe sex.
  • Eye disorders. If you have eye disorders, then it can increase your risk of acquiring this infection. Make sure that you schedule regular appointments with your doctor, and take care to make sure that your eye disorders do not lead to infection.
  • Dryness of the eyes. If you are suffering from dryness of the eyes, then it can make you susceptible to Gonococcal and Chlamydial Conjunctivitis. This is why it is essential that you seek out effective medical treatment at the earliest, and visit your doctor regularly for complete checkups.
  • Inflammatory diseases. If you are also suffering from inflammatory diseases, then it can increase your risk as a result of this infection. This is why it is important to consult with your doctor right away and take better care of your eyes.

Nevertheless, it does not mean that a person who has the risk factors will get this infection and an individual who has no risk factors is fully protected of any types of conjunctivitis. To learn more about the risk factors and how to protect yourself from them, it is really important to talk with a specialist or a health care provider.

Therefore, meet up with your doctor at the earliest and get a checkup done. The above-listed risk factors do not mean that if you suffer from one or the other, you would end up getting infected in both eyes. However, these conditions only serve to increase your risk of acquiring this infection.

There are a lot of causes for Gonococcal and Chlamydial Conjunctivitis, and one of them is Bacterial Conjunctivitis. This infection is highly contagious, and the incubation period is between 10 and 14 days or until the eye returns to the normal color. It is easily transmitted through direct contact with the infected person or through sharing personal items. It is also transmitted during sex. It can also be spread by the use of shared spaces, such as swimming pools.

This is why, if you or any of your loved ones have conjunctivitis, you need to take preventive measures to avoid spreading the infection to others. It is vital that you check with your doctor regarding what preventive measures to take and to limit the spread of this infection.

There are many signs and symptoms for Gonococcal and Chlamydial Conjunctivitis, and here are some of them:

  • Itching of the eyes - if you have itching of the eyes, then it is time that you had a consult with a doctor. The doctor would then be able to confirm if you have conjunctivitis or whether or not the itching is on account of some other reason.
  • Redness – if you are experiencing redness in the eyes along with a grainy texture around the eyes, then it is time you sought a medical consult. The indications are that it is conjunctivitis, and your doctor should be able to confirm the same, post which he would recommend a course of treatment.
  • Discharge with green or yellow color – if your eyes are exuding a discharge that is green or yellow in color, then chances are high that you have conjunctivitis. It is important that you meet up with your doctor at the earliest and get this examined. On confirmation, he would then prescribe a course of antibiotics along with eye lotion, which should help alleviate the symptoms.
  • Sticky eyelids – if you have sticky lids, then chances are that you have conjunctivitis. It is vital that you get your eyes checked out at the earliest, as conjunctivitis is quite infectious, and you would want to avoid spreading it around. Upon diagnosis, your doctor should be able to prescribe a correct course of treatment.
  • Eye pain – if you are experiencing eye pain, and the pain is getting worse by the day, then you need to consult your doctor right away. The doctor should be able to locate the reason for the pain, and in case of conjunctivitis, he should be able to treat it effectively.
  • Eyelid inflammation – if your eyelids are inflamed and tender to the touch, then you need to consult a doctor right away. Inflamed eyelids are an indication of conjunctivitis condition and one that requires medical attention right away. On confirming the condition, your doctor would prescribe a course of treatment.
  • Blurred vision – if you are experiencing blurred vision, then you need to meet up with your doctor and get yourself checked out as soon as possible. Your doctor would run a few tests and identify the underlying cause for the blurred vision. In most cases, it is conjunctivitis that causes your vision to become blurred. The doctor would prescribe a course of treatment, which should help alleviate most of the symptoms, including pain and discomfort.
  • Burning sensation – if you are experiencing burning sensation in both eyes, then it is time you paid a visit to your doctor, as the doctor can help identify the problem, and upon confirmation that it is conjunctivitis, he will prescribe a course of antibiotics and eye drops to help alleviate the symptoms of pain, irritation, and discomfort.
  • Swollen lymph nodes – if you have swollen lymph nodes, then this could be on account of conjunctivitis. Get yourself checked out at the doctors' office, and once the doctor can confirm his diagnosis, he can then provide you with a course of treatment that can help alleviate most of the symptoms. Remember to check with your doctor regarding the various side effects of antibiotics. Also, ensure that you have informed your doctor regarding any medications you are allergic to, as it will have a bearing on your treatment and the medications you would be prescribed.

In some severe cases, there are some possible complications that may occur if the infection is not treated properly. Some of them are:

  • Bonding of the eyelids to the eyeball, where the eyelids appear bonded together with crust in-between. This usually occurs when the infection is not treated in due course of time.
  • Eye damage
  • Loss of vision
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Chronic recurrence of the condition
  • Inflamed intraocular cavities

How are these Types of Conjunctivitis Diagnosed?

Adult Gonococcal Conjunctivitis is diagnosed using the following tools:

Naturally, the first step would be to get your eye examined by an ophthalmologist or a physician. They would also examine the patient’s medical history.

If required, a slit lamp exam will be carried out for a detailed study of the eye. A slit lamp exam involves the checking of any abnormalities in the anterior part of the eye, which includes lashes, eyelids, lens, corneas, and irises.

•    Conjunctival scrapings - a method of removing the conjunctival cells off the surface of the eye to diagnose the type of bacteria.

•    Differential diagnosis - to eliminate other conditions, since there are several bacterial or other causative factors for Conjunctivitis.

There can be signs and symptoms that are similar to other health conditions. Therefore, it is better to conduct additional tests to diagnose the condition.

Possible Complications:

The eye is one of the most sensitive sensory organs. Complications will be severe if the cornea is involved or if this conjunctivitis is not treated on time. The complications may worsen if you have any other health issues related to the eye. Some of the complications are:

•    Permanent loss of vision.

•    Higher risk of damage to the central nervous system, pneumonia, etc.

•    Corneal ulcers, scars, and perforations.

•    Septicaemia, more commonly known as blood poisoning, which occurs when bacteria get into the bloodstream and attack the body's tissues.

•    Bonding of the eyelids to the eyeballs, which may be partial or total.

Treatment:

To treat Gonococcal infection, hospitalization is recommended. An antibiotic called ceftriaxone will be injected directly into your muscles. You would be advised to take oral medications upon discharge.

The eyes must be cleaned regularly with salty water to avoid the formation of mucus. Mucus is an eye discharge that is clear and watery or sometimes may include white or yellowish components.

In the cases of Gonococcal and Chlamydial Conjunctivitis, it is crucial for the person to consult a doctor. There are a lot of treatments and medications a doctor could prescribe. At home, the patient should apply warm compresses to the eyes to reduce the discomfort and clean the eye crusts with wet cotton wool. Lubricating drops may soothe the eyes, and the most important thing is to stop using contact lenses until the infection clears. It is best if the person buys new lenses and throws away the old ones with the container.

It is strongly recommended for the patient to go for regular checkups so that the infection clears fast and to make sure that it does not reoccur. 

Preventive Measures:

Stay away from crowded places as much as possible, since the condition is contagious.

If you are already suffering from this, avoid contact with others and maintain hygiene. Wash your hands regularly. Also, avoid sharing your comb, pillow, blanket, makeup, or any other personal items.

It is a sexually transmitted disease, so be aware of the preventive measures, and be cautious if you are planning on having a child.

Avoid rubbing your eyes unnecessarily. Also, protect your eyes from dust and smoke. Always carry day glasses to protect your eyes.

Avoid consumption of alcohol and smoking cigarettes.

Consulting a doctor is of the utmost importance. People in our country are weary of going to the doctor to get their problems checked. This amplifies the problems. This article should help you realize whether or not you need to visit a doctor.