Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Pink Eye AGAIN!!

'Tis the season for the Pink Eye.  Fa la la la laaa, la la la laaaa.

Yes yes, I'm infuckted again.  Some biotch gave me hot eyes. 

I’ve had pink eye several times throughout my years in Kuwait.  It is nasty and really hard to get rid of.  I’ve got it again now.  It started about 2 weeks ago, lasted approximately 10 days, and now it’s back.  It is not purty.  A lot of my friends have been getting it recently.  It really is the season - either in the Fall or in the Spring in Kuwait. And it NAS-teh.  If you get it, you'll find that it lasts longer than other places in the world - probably because it is so damn dry here.

Let me just state - emphatically and for the record:  PINK EYE SUCKS!!!

First, if anyone wears contact lenses in Kuwait, they should consider getting lasik surgery.  This is what I eventually had to do.  Kuwait’s weather is not conducive to contact lens wearing; dry weather and dust is a bad combination.  Lenses must be cleaned more frequently than cooler climates.  And, if you think that humidity in Kuwait is any relief; it is just the opposite, as humidity in Kuwait carries dust particles with it. 

Any time someone develops pink eye, they should immediately see a doctor (ophthalmologists at most clinics will take walk-in patients if you've got eye infucktions)  to determine the best form of treatment.   Pink eye may be either viral or bacterial and the medical treatment will be different depending on the doctor’s prognosis.

For a long time, I truly believed that there was some kind of “bloom” in Kuwait during the Spring as I almost always got pink eye at that time of year; usually at the end of February.  I developed the worst case immediately after being in the desert near Shuaiba during this season.  I was not alone; my friend came down with it at the same time I did as she was with me that night.

Here is what I received from an environmentalist friend in Kuwait:

“Certain eye tissues are more sensitive than others, and during the fluctuating change of temperature and during the  fall and spring season, temperature changes trigger infection resulting from irritation of the eyes. Humidity during this period (with temperature suitable for bacteria growth) causes infection that has been reported to hospitals and clinics.  Sand/dust storms carry micro-organisms with it of which cause such cases; further, fine dust has an  abrasive force that irritates the eye and causes redness.  In addition,  such cases were reported at the industrial sectors south of Kuwait at Shuaiba,  and some locations at the oil field Gathering Centers.  This is not an epidemic of any sort, but affects a small percentage of the population from time to time.  Therefore newcomers to Kuwait should be aware of such eye infections, and persons with sensitive eyes should have at all times eye cleanser prescribed by a specialist physician.”

Eye Drops for Pink Eye

Eye drops used for pink eye (conjunctivitis) may be antibiotic eye drops prescribed by a doctor or over-the-counter drops used to soothe the symptoms of this common eye infection.

Antibiotic Eye Drops
Antibiotic eye drops are prescribed when the doctor believes the cause of pink eye is bacterial. Some commonly used antibiotics in the treatment of pink are Garamycin, Gentamycin, Tobramycin, Polytrim, Sulfonamides. These are all relatively old medications. Newer drugs, such as Ciloxan, Vigamox, Ocuflex, and Quixin, are becoming more commonly prescribed because they have not developed as much resistance to bacteria as the older drugs and they tend to work faster.

[I’ve been prescribed Vigamox both in Kuwait (this time around) and the US.  Prices without insurance are:  US $70 (20KD) and Kuwait 3KD.  Also been prescribed Tobrex ointment and drops.  KILL IT!!!]

Over-the-Counter Drops
For viral pink eye, which can't be treated with antibiotics, there is an over-the-counter eye drop for adults and children called Similasan Pink Eye Relief that relieves redness, burning, and discharge.”   (I developed an allergy to Simsilasan that made the Pink Eye worse and caused the skin around my eyes to dry out.)

I went to an ophthalmologist at International Clinic, Dr. Abdusamad Abdullah, who was very good (most private clinics/hospitals have an ophthalmologist).  Kuwait also has a specialized eye hospital, Al Bahar Hospital, at the Al Sabah Medical Area in Shuwaikh (you must first receive a referral from a government hospital or clinic before going to the specialist hospitals).

Dr. Abdusamad recommended frequent use of eye drops in Kuwait (he prefers drops without preservatives which may further bother the eye).  You should also wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer as Pink Eye is contagious.  Also, bad news for those women who (like me) feel naked without make-up:  absolutely no  eye make-up as it may be an additional eye irritant.  (And Dr. Abdusamad told me to throw away all my eye-make up as it may have been contaminated.)   If you wear contact lenses, you must also switch to glasses until the pink eye is cleared.  Lightly washing your eyes with warm water helps relieves pain although you should be careful not to cross-infect by using the same cloth/same area on both eyes.

Here are several medications for the treatment of pink eye (from the internet).  They may have other brand names in Kuwait.  Doctors usually prescribe drops and/or ointment.

Just remember it is never a good idea to self-medicate (tried that too).  Your sight is valuable and it is nothing to play with.


Expat and the City said...

I've never had Pink Eye in my life and now you've scared the sh**t out of me. :( I just knocked on wood and will bookmark this page just in case. I hope it clears up soon. I think u need another vacay

Anonymous said...

About five years ago I had LASIK surgery. Both my eyes got really dry afterwards. Specially one of them would get red constantly. I was like that for about two years until one oftalmologyst had the brilliant idea to block my eyes tear ducts so I would keep my eyes moisturised. It worked!!! Now rarely I have a red eye. Though I still have to use everyday artifitial tears... Hope this helps

PS: the thing they use to block the tear ducts eventually & naturally falls but it takes a good couple of years