There are a number of reasons why our eyes can get red – lack of sleep, allergies, bacterial infections and inflammation can all contribute. When someone has “pink eye,” what does that mean? The classic pink eye infection is a virus. It is very contagious. In fact, the medical name for this is EPIDEMIC keratoconjunctivitis (EKC). Because it is a virus, antibiotic eye drops do not help. A person with EKC may be contagious before they exhibit symptoms. It may take up to two weeks for the patient to no longer be contagious.
We have seen several cases in Lincoln this winter. If you watched the Sochi Winter Olympics, you may have noticed Bob Costas was suffering from this condition the entire time. It is great reminder for contact lens wearing patients to have a good back-up pair of glasses. If you have the misfortune of contracting EKC, you will be out of your contacts for several weeks.
If EKC hits your school or household take these precautions:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Do not share towels or linens with others.
- Do not share eye medications or make-up.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Stay at home to avoid spreading this virus to the public.