Poor Bob Costas - Legendary Sports Broadcaster Sidelined by Eye Infection
Poor Bob Costas! The long-time sports broadcaster and voice of the Olympics has been sidelined by an eye infection and the world is talking – and joking – about it. #CostasEye is trending on social media and boy, do his eyes look sore. But eye problems are no laughing matter. From pink eye to pinguecula, they can lead to serious complications if not treated. Here’s a brief rundown from Dr. Bala Ambati at the Moran Eye Center:
Eye infections can be caused by any number of things, including contact lenses, injury, bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Allergies or chemicals can also cause eye irritation.
We’re not clear on how Costas’ eyes became so inflamed, but conjunctivitis is the most common infection among U.S. children and adults. Conjunctivitis happens when the “conjunctiva” covering the white part of the eye becomes inflamed or infected. Many cases of conjunctivitis are associated with allergies but can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections. During conjunctivitis, blood vessels within the eye dilate and fill with blood causing redness and inflammation. The eye feels irritated and in some cases there may be a yellowish discharge that can cause the eyelids to stick together. This is the kind of infection that can be super contagious, so it’s common in places where people are in close contact—such as dorm and classrooms, day care centers and workplaces.
A pinguecula is a yellowish growth that forms on the conjunctiva, usually on either side of the cornea. Pingueculae are thought to be caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation, wind, and dust and are common among people who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors, particularly in very sunny environments.
Sometimes there are more serious diseases, such as damage to the cornea, angle-closure glaucoma, or inflammation inside the eye that causes the conjunctiva to become inflamed and pink. Conjunctivitis rarely affects your vision. But, if vision is affected, if there is a discharge, any light sensitivity, or if the problem does not resolve within a few days, you should see an eye doctor immediately.
How to avoid getting eye infections?
Just as we wash our hands to avoid spreading colds and flu, the best way to avoid bacteria and viruses that trigger infections is to wash hands thoroughly and often. Don’t share towels, washcloths, pillows, or eyewear. If someone near you is already infected, make sure to avoid touching anything that has been near their eyes. It’s also a good idea to disinfect common areas such as doorknobs, bathroom sink and toilet handles and all kitchen surfaces.
If you wear contacts, make sure to clean them regularly, don’t wear them more than 10 hours at a stretch, and never sleep in them. If those are not realistic or feasible, laser vision correction could be an option.
How do I know if my eyes are infected?
Symptoms may include redness, itching, swelling, a runny discharge that makes your eyes stick together (especially after sleeping), pain, or problems with vision.
How long can an eye infection last?
A mild case may last four to five days, but more severe infections can last for up to two weeks.. Other reactions, especially those caused by allergic responses to chemicals or smoke, can also last for a few weeks.
What’s the best treatment?
For viral infections, there is no real treatment other than artificial tear drops and cold compresses, which can help to relieve itchiness and pain. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections, which can clear up pink eye in several days. See your doctor to learn which treatment is appropriate for your case.
About the author:
Dr. Bala Ambati is a researcher and physician at the John A. Moran Eye Center.comments powered by Disqus