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    Riding out conjunctivitis like a bad storm


    Hurts like hell eye

    My tornado-induced viral conjunctivitis did as it darned well pleased instead of following the so-called “rules of 8.” It started about four days after we helped with the cleanup, and my left eye was involved the next day. I grabbed a picture of it with my smartphone but had no idea back then that I had just taken what would soon be called a “selfie.” I considered the common lay term “pink eye” and decided that it was a misnomer because it sounds too cuddly, soft, and cute. Why don’t we all just call it what it is—“hurts like hell” eye (HLH)—and leave it at that.

    More from Dr. Brown: The first doctor is often the smartest

    The power was back up, and I knew I would be needed in the office. But I didn’t want to pass on my HLH eye to anybody else. Optometry Times Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Tracy Swartz came to my rescue. She was a center director at a comanagement center, and by the time she looked at me behind the slit lamp, I already had some early subepithelial infiltrates (SEIs). I consented to 5% Betadine lavage in order to reduce the viral load and try to get me back to work sooner without causing a HLH pandemic.

    I think Dr. Swartz is a strong believer in the old saying, “You gotta fight fire with fire.” She followed the procedure by the book (including a pre-and post- topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug [NSAID]), and it worked. The chemosis and injection decreased dramatically. To be on the safe side, I waited a couple of days to return to the office, but I then proceeded to see patients while gloved up and disinfecting meticulously. Good thing, because I had to remove a few foreign bodies from the salt-of-the-earth country folk with the chainsaws.

    Next: Ride it out like a bad storm

    Michael Brown, OD, MHS-CL, FAAO
    Dr. Brown has practiced medical optometry in a comanagement center and with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in ...


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