LAHORE – The province of Punjab in Pakistan is grappling with a significant outbreak of pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis. State-run hospitals across the region have reported a staggering 500-600 cases, and Lahore has emerged as the hardest-hit district.
This sudden surge in pinkeye cases has raised concerns as the infection seems to be affecting individuals of all age groups. Of particular note is the increasing number of school-going children reporting eye infections, primarily due to lapses in preventive measures at educational institutions.
Reports suggest that school administrations are taking prompt action by allowing infected students to stay home and advising parents to provide special care to their children. Medical experts point out that pinkeye is spreading rapidly in densely populated urban areas, where people often find themselves exposed to unfavorable environments such as factories, markets, and shopping plazas.
Lahore, in particular, is bearing the brunt of this outbreak, with nearly 40 percent of the reported cases originating in the city. Hospitals in Lahore are witnessing a daily influx of over 200 pinkeye patients.
Experts in the field of ophthalmology are sounding the alarm about the potential for widespread transmission of the infection due to a lack of precautions, commonly referred to as viral conjunctivitis.
Renowned ophthalmologist and former Vice Chancellor of King Edward Medical University, Professor Dr. Asad Aslam, asserts that it is too early to gauge the full impact of viral conjunctivitis or pinkeye, as efforts are underway to officially document the exact number of cases.
Dr. Aslam explains that pinkeye is a common, self-limiting condition that affects the lining of the eyelid and eyeball. Fortunately, it is treatable at any stage. He emphasizes that the infection can easily spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, close contact with infected individuals, and even through simple conversations. Patients are urged to exercise extreme caution.
As a preventive measure, Dr. Aslam recommends that individuals with pinkeye wear black glasses and immediately separate their bedding and utensils from those of others. He notes that while an increase in pinkeye cases is observed in Punjab every year, the intensity of this year’s outbreak surpasses previous records.
Regarding the high-risk transmission, Dr. Aslam elucidates that the virus spreads when an infected person touches their eyeball and subsequently comes into contact with other surfaces or individuals. It’s important to note that pinkeye can also result from bacterial infections or allergic reactions. Dr. Aslam stresses that if symptoms do not improve within 12 to 24 hours, individuals should seek a doctor’s appointment promptly to prevent complications.
The pinkeye outbreak in Punjab serves as a stark reminder of the importance of adhering to preventive measures and seeking timely medical attention to curb the spread of this contagious eye infection. Public health authorities and medical professionals are working diligently to manage the situation and provide necessary guidance to the affected population.