Pink Eye + Iritis
Is it Pink Eye or IRITIS?
Since April 2011, Ontario optometrists who are TPA certified have prescribing authority for an extensive list of medications that include antibiotics, steroids, glaucoma medications, and even pills for certain conditions. Like almost all local optometrists, Dr. Workman has maintained his credentials to offer this service to treat pink eye, allergies, iritis, dry eye, and glaucoma.
During cold & flu season, NDEC experiences a spike in pink eye cases, often related to viral infection. Pink eye is a general term for conjunctivitis – an inflammation of the white covering of the eye that can be caused by dry eye, allergies, or infection. Although common with children, it is rare for a healthy adult to have bacterial pink. The cold virus on the other hand can cause pink eye often from eye rubbing with contaminated hands or coughing in close quarters. Thus, it can spread quickly among children. Antibiotic eyedrops are ineffective against allergies or viral infection, and can cause problems of their own.
For any red eye, Dr. Workman provides prompt ocular health assessment using a slit lamp (basically a large, table‑mounted microscope with a chin rest) with a yellow dye. This instrument is essential to properly diagnose any pink eye, but is not available in your family doctor’s office. It is crucial that more serious conditions, such as iritis are ruled out.
Iritis is basically an inflammation of the iris - the coloured part of the eye. Acute cases usually affect only one eye and are characterized by pain, extreme light sensitivity, redness, decreased vision & watery discharge. In fact, some patients even need to wear sunglasses indoors to cope. It can be caused by trauma, sinusitus, internal eye infections, reduced immunity from stress or flu, or systemic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, Crohn's disease. Statistically, 4 individuals in Scugog will have active iritis at this moment. This condition can be mistaken for pink eye; delayed treatment can threaten vision. If not treated promptly with a regimen of anti-inflammatory eyedrops, the swollen iris may block fluid flow within the eye leading to a sudden and painful case of acute glaucoma which can damage vision. With treatment patients need to be monitored closely for resolution and spikes in eye pressure. Patients with urgent conditions are typically seen promptly at NDEC.
Patients should choose their eye doctor based on reputation and quality of care; Ensure your eye doctor is certified to prescribe drugs for ocular conditions.