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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.

Symptoms: Sudden 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.

Signs: Acute 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 contagious.

Tests: The 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.

Treatment: Hygiene 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.

Prognosis: The patient will recover with time. Remember, the conjunctivitis will probably get worse before it gets better. There is no effective antiviral medication.

Complications: Pseudomembrane may form and can be removed by an ophthalmologist.

Prevention: Avoid close contact with persons suffering from EKC. Do not share bedding or towels with infected individuals. Practice good hygiene, wash your hands.

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post by Karl Scheib from Georgia, USA at July 26, 2012
I recently was diagnosed with EKC after exposure to a patient and accompanying family members in a retail optical shop where I sometimes work as an optician. My Opthometrist prescribed me Tobradex then Nevanac to control the inflammation. It began in my right eye and then, not as bad, in my left. Early recognition and the drops have helped me avoid all the nastiness others have had in our local outbreak. It took about three weeks for the infection to recede in my case. I'm healed but a month later I've noticed a dry sensation in the mornings. My Opthometrist told me to use artificial tears. Do not avoid professional care and enact cleanliness measures if you catch it!!!
post by bill g from islip, new york at June 29, 2012
I was diagnosed with EKC 18 days ago in my left eye. I developed and had removed a pseudomembrane on the 11th day, and was put on steroids the same day. Most of the symptoms have since resolved with only mild redness under the eye and in the under eyelid. My eye was blurry for three days prior to pseudo membrane removal and starting steroids, and it then slightly improved after three days, got bad over night, improved, got bad, improved and then got bad again today when I woke up (18th day). Is this normal? Could this be the virus dying and leaving new infiltrates, which means that I just need to continue steroids to battle off new infiltrates. Anyone have a similar experience????
post by DR RAHID HUSSAIN RESHI EYE SPECIALIST from SAUDIA ARABIA at May 22, 2012
DONOT TOUCH YOUR EYES AS THERE IS DIRECT SPREAD OF VIRUS TO YOUR EYES
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post by Josee from Ottawa- Canada at May 6, 2012
My EKC story is much like the ones below- started suddenly in the left eye and its still very swollen and sore- now 9 days into it! Its horrible. Ny right eye is red to but not to the same extent as the left! It hurts so much! My eyes are constantly leaking and its so SORE to touch! Also, my glands (lymphnodes are sticking out by my ear on the side of my face and in my neck! And from what I am reading- I'm nowhere nwar the end of this!
post by Rawle from Guyana,Souther America at January 31, 2012
Epidemic Kerato Conjunctivitis is extremely contagious and highly annoying its been almost 4 weeks, in my case the infection and redness began in my my left eye, with mild signs in my right after a few days, the redness from my right eyes faded for a couple days, then on about the 8 or 9th day both eyes became red and had severe burning sensations when i closed them as well as heavy teariness, on about the 16th day signs of it fading began, my doctor recommended me some eye drops as heavy bluriness began to occur in my left eye then slowly my right eye i had to the take the drops about 6 times a day,today its roughly about 4 weeks into the infection, everything seems normal, redness faded from both eyes around the 21st day but the bluriness and crustyness in the morning still stuck around, i still use my eye drops, this morning i woke up and noticed my left eye was a light shade of red but there was no other symptom of this virus, oh god i hope i dont have to go through with this again.
post by Stacy from Park Ridge, IL at January 29, 2012
Is it possible to catch EKC pink eye from a dog? Sounds crazy but some illnesses are communicable from dogs and cats to humans. I just have not found any info on this in particular. My boyfriend swears he caught ekc from my Bichon who had pink eye on a few occasions. Thanks
post by Zombie Eye from Kentucky at January 27, 2012
Wow. Wish that I had seen this earlier. 3 different drops from local eye doctors and primary care doctor and no relief. Finally got fed up after weeks of misery and went to specialist who diagnosed EKC. All the drops that I was on weren't helping and may have worsened it. Wish I had gone to him earlier.
post by EKC Sucks from Philadelphia at December 19, 2011
EKC is serious. In my case it started with irritation and redness in one eye, second day that eye was blood shot red, swollen and watery and by end of day three both the eyes had foreign body sensation, extremely watery, red and swollen. Initially doctors were not able to diagnose EKC and I was just on artificial tears. For next 2 weeks both the eyes were in real pain / burning sensation/watery and I was not able to go to work, leave my home or even sleep normally. At the end of week 2 my eyes became extremely photo-phobic and vision became blurry. Second check up confirmed EKC and vision had dropped to 20/30 in both the eyes. I was put on steroids (lotomax) immediately - 6 times a day along with artificial tears and tear ointment before sleeping. Steroids definitely did some magic and I was able to see improvements within 3 days, by the end of third week vision was not blurry and photo-phobia was minimum. By end of week 4 redness was gone and I started going to work and resumed other normal functions - still I had crusty eyes in the morning. Steroids/ tears continued for another 2 weeks and then tappered the dosage from 6 to 4 and then once a day. Now (after almost 2 months) I am not on any medication / steroids etc and everything is normal except right eye vision seem to get little blurry at times. My doctors told me my eyes are normal and there are no signs of any kind of infection however this virus (Adeno) can infect again and it can take 3-4 months for complete recovery. Guys - make sure you change your bed sheets, pillow covers and towel every day. Make sure you keep wiping all surfaces in contact (TV remote etc ) with disinfectant wipes. Make sure you wash you hands with soap every hour (hygiene is a key in this case) and no contact with people, except medical professionals. I ended up infecting two friends. Hope this helps !!!
post by dee from St. Louis mo at December 5, 2011
is anyone aware of a Doc in the St. Louis Mo. area that does Betadine wash for EKG?
post by Buy oem software online from New York at November 5, 2011
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post by sedshooma from Antarctica at October 19, 2011
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post by buy flexeril online from Dominican Republic at October 13, 2011
Thank you for this information! I used it for my diploma thesis =)
post by Chris Mitchell from Naples, FL at September 16, 2011
Signs of EKC began in my left eye 9 days ago which progressed within several days into a severe state with mutliple blisters outside the iris and inside the lids-fever was persistent. Right eye was infected by Monday & is following similarly. 10 days later fever is moderate but eyes ache, weep and stick shut. Hoping I have peaked as this is awful! Chris
post by Diane from New Jersey at September 14, 2011
how long do i have to stay away from people? How long am i contagious? Why am i given an antibodic when this is a vitus?
post by Heather from CA at August 11, 2011
I recently returned from the Dominican Republic with what I thought was pink eye. I was treated with antibiotics which I had an allergic reaction to. The infection soon spread to my other eye. I have now been diagnosed with EKC and have had it for 8 days. I'm now taking an antibiotic/steroid and hoping it improves as it is very uncomfortable. Not being able to leave the house, drive, work or sleep sucks.
post by Yvonne Brown-Noble from Philadelphia at August 11, 2011
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post by berbPreRirorp from Mali at July 16, 2011
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post by Mellody Holden from Pearl River, LA at July 14, 2011
I've been having EKC for over 30 years. I've used steroids through these painful times. Within the past 6 months I've developed cataracts and need surgery. My Dr's concern is infection of the eye after surgery due to the EKC. Has anyone gone through this experience?
post by satSoalotarty from Senegal at July 12, 2011
Iím still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post.
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