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Don’t Get “Bob Costas Eye”!

Don’t get “Bob Costas Eye”.

To tell you the truth, I have not been watching the Sochi Winter Olympics.  In fact, the Westminster Dog Show held my attention more.  But all the media attention on Bob Costas’ eye infection drew my interest to what was going on and so like a bad accident I had to look.  “Whoa! That’s a bad one, hope no one got hurt.”

I’m chuckling as I write this.   You may have seen the Direct TV ads that start with something like “When your cable goes out, you get bored….”, which leads to what seems like a never ending cascade of cause and effect events, like a small version of the legendary “Butterfly Effect.”  Usually ending up with the person who has cable TV trouble not doing well.

I can just picture a scenario like this:   “When you sleep in your contacts, you wake up seeing clearly.  When you wake up seeing clearly, you have more energy and motivation.  When you have more motivation, you perform your job a lot better.  When you perform your job a lot better, you get a promotion.  When you get a promotion, you get a raise.  When you get a raise, you think you can travel to exotic places like the Winter Olympics.  When you travel to exotic places like Sochi, you fly coach next to a big Ukranian man with a cold.  When you sit next to a big Ukranian man with a cold in an airplane, you get “Bob Costas Eye”.  Don’t get “Bob Costas Eye”!”   The morale of the story here would be:  Don’t sleep in your contacts to start with!

In Bob Costas’ case though, it looks like he has a case of a viral eye infection or what lay people would call “pink eye.” Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis or EKC for short is caused by a virus as opposed to bacteria.  Though sometimes similar, the two infections are more like a zebra and a horse.  They look and behave a little different and you treat them differently too.

Bob Costas probably got the infection in the trapped space of the airplane.  It is extremely contagious and usually spreads from one eye to the other.  When I say contagious, I don’t mean it is going to jump off someone else’s eye and into yours like a flea or something.  People think they need to be put in isolation sometimes.  It is normally spread by coughing and sneezing.  It is mostly an airborne virus.  It is a cold virus that settles in your eye.  That is why is spreads so fast at schools or in some small offices.   You can get it from the person that is sneezing two people behind you in line at the supermarket.   That being said, it can last on surfaces for hours also.  So you want to avoid touching things the other person has touched without washing their hands or sanitizing with Clorox wipe or other disinfectant. Definitely avoid sharing towels, pillows, computer keyboards or telephone and the like.

There are no current prescription drops to cure EKC.  It is a cold virus or adenovirus that causes the infection and just like the common cold, there is no cure.  You have to let your own body’s immune system get rid of the infection. Fortunately, just like taking “cold medicine” to help you feel better, there are some treatments we can do to help the infection resolve faster and make you feel better.

In the office, we can anesthetize the eye with some numbing drops and place some 5% Betadine disinfecting solution on the eye’s surface and eyelids to sterilize the surface and get rid of most of the live virus.  With the viral load reduced, the body’s immune system can overcome the infection easier and faster.  The viral particles cause a lot of inflammation, which is what causes the redness, swelling and pain.  We can help that with a non-steroidal and steroid eye drop to calm that down.  And the old standby treatment….chilled wet washcloths or cold packs wrapped with a wet washcloth.  Wet transfers the cold better to the tissue and helps reduce inflammation and pain.

There are no over the counter treatments or home remedies that are going to help a viral conjunctivitis or pink eye.   Instead of putting up with pain and irritation, make an appointment early and we can get you healed up and normal looking again much quicker.   The next time you wake up with the barn cat eye or the eye starts getting red and watering, just remember Bob Costas.

Don’t get “Bob Costas Eye”!

Courtesy of Dumas Vision Source, PLLC and Dr Tory W. Moore, Optometric Glaucoma Specialist and Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry.    Serving the Dumas, Texas,  Moore County and upper Texas Panhandle area for 23 years.   Call (806) 935-2020 for appointment or visit our optical gallery without an appointment.  Visit our website for more information.  Like our Facebook business page:  Dumas Vision Source  and you can also connect on Twitter @eyedocdumas

Tory Moore, OD  – “A Hometown Eye Doctor You Know and Can Trust!”