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In the Pink: Getting the Right Treatment for Adenoviral Conjunctivitis

September 6, 2018

During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, millions of Americans were talking about more than just the world’s best athletes facing off in some of the world’s most thrilling competition.

They were also fascinated by the fact that NBC Olympics host Bob Costas developed conjunctivitis, more commonly known as “pink eye,” and fought it until he could no longer remain on the air. Many people tuned in for the cringe-inducing images of Costas with obviously inflamed, tear-streaming eyes, wondering how anyone could do what he did.

Costas was infected with adenoviral conjunctivitis, a form of conjunctivitis that is driven by a virus. (Pink eye can have multiple causes, including bacteria, allergic reactions, chemicals like air pollutants, or a virus.) Viruses in the same class that cause the condition also can cause diseases like gastroenteritis or pneumonia. There are seven different adenovirus species.

Adenoviruses can be contracted in a number of different ways. These viruses can live for a significant length of time outside the body, so it’s possible that you could come into contact with them from a towel or some kind of instrument that was used by an infected person. You can catch the virus from direct contact with their secretions, such as a handshake after they rubbed an infected eye. You might even be able to catch it from swimming.

The viruses have been described as “robust” and can spread very quickly in heavily trafficked areas of workplaces or hospitals or in locations with heavy flows of human traffic such as a bus or train station.

It’s possible to get the infection from someone who at the time of transmission is showing very few symptoms of adenoviral conjunctivitis. The disease has an eight-day incubation period, and then someone will become contagious for about two weeks. The initial days of the infectious period could produce milder symptoms that someone would not realize is conjunctivitis instead of just an irritated eye.

In many cases, the disease can work its course through about a two-week period if treated by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. There have been documented cases of more extreme infections that last longer, but they are very rare.

So in the case of adenoviral conjunctivitis, you can see that it’s vitally important that your eye care specialist be able to determine the type of conjunctivitis you’re facing. The treatment plan and the care you would need to take not only to only protect yourself from re-infection but to protect those around you from the disease depend on a clear, precise diagnosis.

Dr. Silverman and his team at OCLI have discovered a quick test that can tell you within 10 minutes if you’re suffering from adenoviral conjunctivitis. This rapid test is not only faster than many of the previous tests for the disease, it also carries a 90 percent sensitivity rate and a 96 percent specificity rate. This means it’s one of the most accurate tests on the market and can detect the virus very early in its life cycle.

The test also allows for proper treatment of the condition. In an age of over-prescription of antibiotics, diagnosing adenoviral conjunctivitis would keep you from having to take an antibiotic that would do nothing to treat your condition.

We hope you can see the seriousness of adenoviral conjunctivitis and the importance of seeking out testing and treatment at the first signs of the disease. Dr. Silverman and the staff at OCLI are dedicated to the health of your eyes and the maintenance of your vision, and have the AdenoPlus rapid testing available as well as being able to set up a treatment plan to help you navigate the disease.

If you’re experiencing the early stages of conjunctivitis, contact OCLI today.

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