Thursday, July 06, 2017

Pink eye? Probably getting the wrong stuff

My daughter and I both had this kind of disgusting eye infection once--curtains of green slopping down our faces.

Pink eye--or conjunctivitis--is treated with antibiotic drops in 60% of cases--and about 20% of those patients get a drop with steroids that can prolong or worsen this condition.

The study, done at the University of Michigan and published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is the first to study a diverse section of the US.

Besides 20% of those given drops being given the wrong drops, the study showed that whether the patient filled the prescription depended on socioeconomic status, rather than the risk of a more serious infection--say in those with contacts or those with HIV/AIDS.

Pink eye--which hits 6 million people in the US each year--can be caused by a virus, a bacteria or an allergy.

Most are caused by viruses and allergies--antibiotics are useless.

Most pink eye clears up in 1-2 weeks without treatment.

Other interesting facts:

--Primary care doctors diagnose 83% of cases.

--Those diagnosed by a primary care doctor or urgent care center were more likely to get the drops than patients diagnosed by an eye doctor.

--Those who filled prescriptions were more likely to be white, younger, better educated, and richer than patients who did not fill the prescriptions.

Some doctors prescribe antibiotics "just in case." This, of course, gets more antibiotics out there building up resistance.

Still, I remember the disgusting green stuff--I did want it gone.

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