Gonorrhea, commonly known as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), can also affect the eyes in a condition known as gonococcal conjunctivitis....READ THE FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SOURCE

This less common but serious manifestation of gonorrhea occurs when Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria are introduced directly to the eye area.

Understanding the risks, symptoms, and treatments is essential for preventing and managing this infectious eye disease.

How gonorrhea can infect the eye

Gonococcal conjunctivitis can develop when the bacteria from an infected person’s genitals, anus, or mouth come into direct contact with the eye. This can occur through:

Touching the eyes with contaminated hands.

Exposure to infected bodily fluids, such as semen or vaginal fluids, splashing or being transferred to the eye area.

Sharing towels or other personal items that have been contaminated.

This route of infection is more common among newborns, who can contract the bacteria during childbirth, and among adults engaged in sexual activities involving contact with infected bodily fluids.

Symptoms of gonococcal conjunctivitis

The symptoms of gonococcal conjunctivitis typically develop within 2 to 5 days after exposure and can include:

Severe redness and irritation in one or both eyes.

Pain and discomfort in the affected eye(s).

Pus-like discharge from the eyes, which can be copious and may cause the eyelids to stick together, especially after sleeping.

Swelling of the eyelids.

Sensitivity to light (photophobia).

These symptoms can escalate rapidly and require prompt medical attention to prevent complications such as corneal perforation and blindness.

Treatment for gonococcal conjunctivitis

Treatment for gonococcal conjunctivitis is straightforward but must be initiated quickly to avoid long-term damage to the eyes. The mainstay of treatment involves:

Antibiotic therapy: Immediate administration of antibiotics is crucial. Treatment typically starts with an intramuscular injection of ceftriaxone. Depending on the severity and response, additional oral antibiotics may be prescribed.

Topical antibiotics: While less common, eye drops or ointments containing antibiotics may be used in conjunction with systemic treatment.

Supportive care: Cleaning the infected eyes gently with sterile saline and avoiding the use of contact lenses until fully healed is recommended.

Preventing gonococcal conjunctivitis

Prevention of gonococcal conjunctivitis relies on general precautions against gonorrhea and other STIs, including:

Practicing safe sex by using condoms or dental dams.

Regular STI screenings, particularly if you have multiple partners or are at higher risk.

Avoid touching the eyes with unwashed hands, especially in sexually active individuals with known or suspected gonorrhea infection.

While gonococcal conjunctivitis is a rare complication of gonorrhea, its potential for causing severe eye damage makes it a significant health concern.

Awareness and understanding of how the infection spreads, its symptoms, and immediate treatment approaches are vital for preventing serious outcomes.

If you experience any symptoms of gonococcal conjunctivitis, seek medical attention immediately to reduce the risk of complications….CONTINUE READING THE FULL ARTICLE>>>

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