Sight for "Sore Eyes"

The country is on health alert with the outbreak of dengue hemorrhagic fever for the past couple of months. There are aggressive campaigns to re-educated on the prevention, symptoms and source of this "break bone fever" caused by the bite of an Aedes mosquito. But aside from this potentially fatal type of high grade fever, another rising health case is SORE EYES.

We received a circular and medical bulletin from my son's school about sore eyes and I would like to share this with you to help prevent the spread of this contagious eye infection, which usually rises during flu season.

Medical Bulletin:  SORE EYES

What is "Sore Eyes"?

Sore eyes is a common term for an inflammation of the thin covering of the eyeball and the inner eyelid brought about by a viral infection which may be highly contagious.

How does sore eyes spread?

Sore eyes can spread by contact of contaminated hands with the eyes (hand to eye contact) or through touching of eyes with hands which got into contact with contaminated surfaces of objects. It can also spread through droplets from a person with sore eyes who also has a runny nose or cough.

What are the signs and symptoms of sore eyes?
  • Redness of the eye
  • Eye discomfort described as burning or gritty but not sharp
  • Vision is usually normal although smearing, particularly in waking, maybe common
  • Pain on the eye on exposure to light
  • Water-like discharge commonly seen, but later, eyes maybe difficult to open in the morning, glued together
  • Runny nose and sore throat maybe present
How long does sore eyes last?

Signs and symptoms of sore eyes will peak in 3 to 4 days, and patient will be relieved and recover in about 10 to 14 days.

What are the complications of sore eyes?

After a severe and prolonged infection, there can be corneal scarring that can result in glare and decreased vision.

Is there a treatment for sore eyes?

Sore eyes which is of viral origin is self-limiting.  Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops or ointment may be used upon the advice of a health professional. To relieve the discomfort, warm compress may be applied to the eye 5 to 10 minutes, three times a day.

How to prevent sore eyes?
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water
  • Do not touch your eyes and face without washing your hands
  • Do not share towels, eyeglasses / shades, and make-up
  • Do not reuse handkerchiefs (wash after every use), using a tissue is best
  • Used make-up must be thrown away if the patient has been diagnosed with infectious conjunctivitis
  • Be careful that tips of eye drops or ointments do not touch the eyes or eyelashes
  • Don't swim (some bacteria and viruses can be spread in the water)
  • Avoid shaking hands
  • Disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, counters, elevator buttons, hand rails with diluted bleach solution
  • Clothes, towels, pillow cases and anything else which may have come in contact with an infected person should be washed
What should patients with sore eyes do?
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Use clean tissue to remove discharge from eyes and wash hands afterwards
  • Dispose used tissue in garbage bins. If the latter is not available, keep tissue in a small plastic bag then discard as soon as you find a garbage bin
  • To prevent irritation of the eye and possible scarring, do not use contact lens while one has sore eyes
  • Do not wear eye make-up until the problem has been resolved
  • Warm compress may be helpful to relieve discomfort and remove "crust"
  • Use antibiotic or antiviral medication only upon prescription by the doctor
  • If drops or an ointment is prescribed, the applicator tip and infected eye must never come in contact with each other
  • Especially for persons with sore eyes with runny nose or cough, stay in a separate room or away from other family members or co-workers
Should I report for work if I have sore eyes?

As much as possible, do not report for work.  However, if unavoidable circumstances require you to report for work, especially if you have sore eyes accompanied by runny nose and/or cough, stay in a separate room or away from other employees.

In workplaces where you mingle or work closely with other employees, it is best to stay at home.

Should I go to school and attend classes if I have sore eyes?

Spread of sore eyes can be hastened by crowding and close contact with other persons, thus, those with sore eyes are advised not to report to school.

Until when should one be absent from work or school?

Until the symptoms have resolved and until there is no discharge from the eyes.

What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is the medical term that describes an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that covers the white of your eyes (sclera).  This membrane produces mucus to coat and lubricate the surface of the eye.

Watch this video from GMA News on Sore Eyes Cases

Department of Health
Re-printed by the clinic of Reedley International School

Photo from Gucci Eyewear print campaign

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