Pink eye

Published May 3, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin



“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eyes, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” — Luke 6:41, The King James Bible

Dr. Jose Pujalte Jr.
Dr. Jose Pujalte Jr.

The Covid-19 pandemonium makes us forget that other common infections abound. In simpler times, the DOH at about this time would be warning the public about “sore eyes”.That N95 mask may prevent spread through the mouth and nose. But one mode of entry easily missed is through the eyes. If an infected person coughs on door knob that you turned next, and then youabsent-mindedly rub your eyes with the same hand – the virus has entered the body.

Conjunctivitis. Chances are someone somewhere has told you that you can’t look at a person with sore eyes. Unlike looking at the Medusa, you don’t turn into stone but get sore eyes, too. This was the reason behind going to school or work wearing dark glasses. Eye contact was lethal! You could get sore eyes with one baleful stare!

Infection is transferred not by a stare but by person to person contact. It can be due to irritating substances such as soap, shampoo, dirt, even chlorine in the swimming pool. Allergens from dust and pollen can also cause inflammation as well.

Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the covering of the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. This covering helps keep the eye moist.

 Signs & Symptoms.  A conjunctival infection can present with the following uncomfortable findings –

  • Redness of the eyes.
  • White, green, or yellow discharge from the eyes.
  • Itchy eyes.
  • Burning sensation of the eyes.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Increased sensitivity to light.

Relieving Symptoms. So now you know, wearing sunglasses is not just to hide inflamed eyes but to shield them from too much light. Women should temporarily stop using make up to decrease irritants. Those who wear contact lenses may have to take them off until the infection resolves.

Diagnosis and Treatment.  Your friendly general practitioner is the first doctor to visit. The specialist in this condition is the ophthalmologist or eye doctor. Prior to treatment, the doctor may take samples of the discharge to determine the organism responsible. Remember that some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can manifest as eye infections. The doctor may start you on antibiotic eye drops, ointments, and antibiotic capsules. Viral conjunctivitis is a diagnosis of exclusion. Other causes — allergens and irritants must be ruled out first.

The infection is expected to resolve in 5 to 7 days, whether bacterial or viral. As for irritant or allergen-induced conjunctivitis, treatment per se is not enough. You must avoid the offending substance and a visit to an allergologist (allergy expert) makes sense.

Prevention. Wash hands with an antibacterial soap. Do NOT rub your eyes. Do not share common articles like towels, utensils, etcetera with the infected. Also, during the infection, change pillows and bed coverings as often as possible.

While the Covid-19 infection usually presents as high fever, cough and shortness of breath, up to 3% of patients can have conjunctivitis.

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