Ref: CHB/News Bulletin/001/2012

Medical Term: Epidemic Kerato Conjunctivitis (EKC). This is a highly infectious and contagious condition that affects the outer parts of the eye.

red_eyes

Causative agent: A type of virus called Adenovirus

Spread by: Hand to eye contact i.e if an infected person touches his eye and tears and then shakes hands of another person, if the second person touches his eye there is very high chance he will get the infection.

Not Spread by: Looking at an infected person

Symptoms:

- Gritty, sandy sensation in the eye
- Tearing and sometimes thick yellowish discharge.
- Moderate to severe redness of the white part of the eye
- Photophobia i.e. difficult to open eyes and blurring of vision in sunlight.
- Lid swelling in severe cases
- Eye ball pain

Treatment:

This is a self limiting condition and there is no specific treatment, only supportive measures as follows:

1.      Hygiene is the most important part of treatment. Wipe tears with soft tissue and dispose it safely. Immediately wash your hands with soap and dry hands with napkin. DO NOT use handkerchief or towel to wipe your eyes.

2.      Artificial tear drops or ointment to lubricate your eyes.

3.      Cold compresses or washing eye frequently with cold water.

4.      Antibiotic drops or ointment if associated with secondary bacterial infection. This can be prescribed by an eye health practitioner.

5.      Steroid drops ONLY if prescribed by an eye doctor.

6.      DO NOT use steroid drops on your own

7.      DO NOT use tea water, salt water, traditional medication or ANY home remedy.

Caution

A red eye on its own can be a symptom of severe and sight threatening eye diseases. If one gets a red eye and is not sure what it is should consult an eye health expert especially if associated with

a.     Severe eye pain
b.    Blurring or loss of vision
c.     Severe headache

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