(Scarborough, Tobago – October 31st, 2017): As Red Eye or Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) becomes increasingly prevalent among the population of Tobago, the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) is urging persons who have developed the symptoms to be mindful of the fact that it is highly contagious.
Red Eye is an inflammation of the layer covering the white of the eye and lining the eye lids. Most cases of red eye are caused by viruses or bacteria, which can easily be transmitted to other persons, by allergens like pollen or irritants e.g. smoke and dust. Some of the symptoms include redness of the eye, swelling of the eye lids, watery discharge, a sandy or gritty feeling in the eye, itching, blurring or irritation of the eyes, general discomfort in the eye or sensitivity to light.
Acting Head of Department, Accident & Emergency at the Scarborough General Hospital, Dr. JeanRobert Richard, said, “We have seen an increase in the number of patients at the Emergency Department with conjunctivitis and it’s very important that persons pay attention to how Red Eye is spread so as to avoid spreading it to others. It can be spread through direct contact such as touching commonly used surfaces e.g. door knobs, keyboards or phones and then rubbing your eyes, or sharing personal items such as towels, handkerchiefs, medication, make-up, wash rags, pillows and sheets. More importantly, persons can avoid getting it altogether by practicing good hygiene such as washing hands often with soap, using an alcohol-based sanitizer, avoiding hand-to-eye contact and sharing personal items.”
There is no specific treatment for Red Eye, which may last 3-5 days before it goes away on its own, so there is no need for medical intervention. However, persons are urged to visit their nearest Health Centre if it persists for more than one week.
Dr. Randy Thomas, Acting General Manager, Primary Care of the TRHA, further stated that, “If you have Red Eye together with pain in the eye, blurring or loss of vision, symptoms that get worse and persist beyond a week or have a pre-existing eye condition, then you are advised to visit a Doctor or seek medical attention at your nearest Health Centre. Clients can expect to be fast-tracked for care with precautions being taken to minimize further transmission of the virus.”
Prevention is key to tackling Red Eye head on and if it can’t be prevented, minimize transmission to others by adhering to the recommended practices.