Eye Care Terms
Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC)
Definition: inflammation of the cornea
and conjunctiva caused by an adenovirus. It is named epidemic for the
epidemic way the infection spreads.
Alternative names: pink
eye, shipyard conjuntivitis, Sandersí disease, Sanders-Hogan syndrome.
Shipyard disease or shipyard eye, a form of EKC, occured during WWII.
James Sanders, an English physician, was the first to describe EKC.
onset of irritated, red eyes. Discharge is watery. Photophobia with
foreign body sensation is also noted. Vision changes could be mild
(20/30) or severe with keratitis (20/100). Ocular symptoms usually calm
down in two weeks.
follicular conjunctivitis. Tender preauricular lymph nodes. The rule of
eight applies. The first eight days, superficial punctate keratitis is
present. The patient is contagious at this point. The second eight
days, sub epithelial infiltrates are seen. The patient is not
signs above can be seen by an eye doctor using a biomicroscope. Signs
and symptoms provide the majority of clues to make a diagnosis.
Cause : It is caused by several adenoviruses.
is very important. Hand washing is must. Supportive therapy is
important, such as sunglasses, artificial tears, cool compresses. The
use of steroid is controversial. Steroid is generally used if sub
epithelial infiltrates are greatly affecting visual acuity. The
conjunctivitis may get worse before it gets better. The virus is shed
in the tears. When sub epithelial infiltrates appear, the patient is
non- contagious. Bedding and towels need to be wash frequently. The
patient should not share towels with others.
patient will recover with time. Remember, the conjunctivitis will
probably get worse before it gets better. There is no effective
Complications: Pseudomembrane may form and can be removed by an ophthalmologist.
Avoid close contact with persons suffering from EKC. Do not share
bedding or towels with infected individuals. Practice good hygiene,
wash your hands.