Are Doctors Treating Pink Eye Incorrectly?

A recent study regarding the effectiveness of the common recommendation an individual receives for acute conjunctivitis, otherwise known as pink eye, says doctors may be getting it wrong. Over 60 percent of patients are prescribed antibiotic eye drops, but research shows that antibiotics aren’t necessarily effective in properly treating this type of eye infection. Another 20 percent receive a type of antibiotic eye drop that also contains steroid which often makes the infection worse.

The study was published in the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which really dissected the use of antibiotics as a way to treat pink eye in the United States. It was shown that all this type of treatment protocol does is promote antibiotic resistance while also increasing overall costs to patients. The study identified those who had filled specific prescriptions for eye drops after being diagnosed with acute conjunctivitis. The 20 percent that received the antibiotic eye drops that also contain a steroid often found their symptoms prolonged or worsened because steroids shouldn’t typically be used for that type of infection.

What was even more unsettling was that the odds of whether or not the prescription was filled depended heavily on the patient’s socioeconomic status instead of their risk for developing additional eye infections. This is the case with those who wear contact lenses and those who have been diagnosed with chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS.

The Right Diagnosis

Pink eye is incredibly common. So much so that over six million people in the United States suffer from it per year. There are typically three types that are seen most regularly: allergic conjunctivitis, viral and bacterial.

The study found that acute conjunctivitis is often diagnosed improperly by the wrong type of medical professionals. Over 83 percent of urgent care providers, family physicians and pediatricians made the diagnosis instead of trained optometrists or ophthalmologists. It also needs to be noted that patients diagnosed by those outside of the specialty prescribe antibiotic eye drops two or three times more than an ophthalmologist

Patients who did fill their antibiotic prescriptions tended to be white, younger, wealthier and better educated. This highlights the systemic and prevalent bias that the medical industry is complicit in allowing – along with most other industries in this society.

One researcher explains: “This study opens the lid on overprescribing of antibiotics for a common eye infection. It shows that current treatment decisions for pink eye are not based on evidence, but are often driven more by the type of health care practitioner making the diagnosis and the patient’s socioeconomic status than by medical reasons. The potential negative consequences are difficult to justify as we move toward focusing on value in health care.”

This is also incredibly inefficient on top of being shameful. But many people who have frequented the doctor’s office for various illnesses and ailments know that sometimes the doctor is really only guessing when it comes to what they think the diagnosis is and what they advise you to take for it. Antibiotics as a whole are overprescribed, and because of this, certain strains of bacteria are performing mutations and becoming stronger than the antibiotics themselves. When dealing with prescription medication, even if it’s just eye drops or ointment, getting the proper item for your specific needs is crucial.

 

The Need To Understand Glaucoma

The eyes are not simply just the windows to our soul. In fact, the eyes are one of the foremost senses that we rely on in our day-to-day lives. Many people often take sight and seeing for granted, but for those who have impaired vision, from an accident or age-related issues, understanding the complexities of compromised eyesight is imperative to then being able to properly treat and combat it. Glaucoma is considered the second leading cause of blindness for those over the age of 40. More than 2.5 million Americans suffer from some form of the eye disease. This makes it incredibly pervasive and it’s only climbing higher as time goes on. That number is expected to more than double in 30 years.

Who Can Get Glaucoma?

There is ongoing research that has been done in regards to better understanding this condition and effective ways to prevent it from occurring. A very interesting tidbit of information regarding it is that anyone can actually develop glaucoma. Though there are certain people who may be more genetically predisposed to the condition, it can show up in anyone. Even younger individuals, such as children and babies, may develop the early onset of this condition which can have terrible effects and consequences on eyesight. Familial and genetic makeup does contribute to this specific condition in many ways. It has been found that people over the age of 60, especially those of Mexican-American descent, have a higher probability of suffering from glaucoma.

Comprehensive Eye Exam

The most effective way to catch the presence of glaucoma, in order to treat it quickly, is by getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. One of the most beneficial methods of treatment and prevention starts when detection is made early. Eyesight can be saved and restored by taking this simple and relatively quick eye exam. The trained eye care professional will use a special tool that examines the very back of the eye. This magnifying lens will show any type of nerve damage or irregularity that may exist in the back of the eye where issues typically occur first.

Preventative Treatment Important

Simply waiting for symptoms is a bad idea. Because of how quickly glaucoma can spread and become unmanageable, preventative treatment is better than reactive treatment. This is how lack of awareness can really be costly in the end. For those who have a history of glaucoma in their family or have dealt with similar eye issues in the past, making it a point to be examined at least yearly is necessary. When glaucoma isn’t properly treated, eyesight begins to diminish. It is the peripheral eyesight that typically diminishes first. Seeing things out of the corner of the eye becomes more difficult. Over a period of time, even central vision can be negatively affected.

Nerve Cell Damage

The optic nerve is the compromised entity in the face of glaucoma. It exists in the very back of the eye and helps to carry specific peripheral visuals to the brain. When that optic nerve is damaged, its range of motion than becomes compromised. When the nerve cells become under attack from the presence of glaucoma, the flow of visual data is disrupted and can often be short circuited. Once this damage is done it cannot be reversed. Specific studies have been researching ways to protect eye cells from this nerve damage.