Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Eyes Have It!

While preparing to move my office in the last few days with all the stresses that such disruption entails, my right eye has gone crazy on me. I have wondered if it is "conjunctivitis" --also known as Pink Eye (love that name!), a spider bite, an allergy, or just a good old fashioned sty (hate that word!).

So this morning when my online Journal Watch came up with "Pink Eye-to Treat or not to Treat" of course it caught my you know what. It turns out there are four simple criteria that help determine whether a pink eye needs antibiotic treatment or not. This is important because all kinds of institutions require a certain amount of antibiotic treatment (and usually a doctors' visit) before allowing a student back to school or an adult into the workplace. So we can save lots of time and money if we can avoid this. In addition, we must concern ourselves with the development of resistance to antibiotics among bacteria in our midst. Over-treating, as we know, will lead to increased resistance through natural selection of hardier bugs.

The four criteria about a patient that seem to indicate at least 90% of the time that an infection is not bacterial and does not require antibiotic drops or ointment are:
  • older than six years of age
  • infection presenting between April and November
  • watery or minimal eye discharge
  • "no glued eye in the morning" (love that description)
So next time you can't reach your doctor, the co-pay is too high on the visit or the meds, or you are out of town, think through these criteria before letting panic set in. The good old ice pack to the eye and frequent wiping with a damp cotton ball followed by scrupulous hand washing ought to do it. Guess it's back to packing my boxes.

No comments:

Post a Comment