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)