Adult eye infections common this time of year

'Pinkeye' in the spotlight at the Winter Olympics

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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NBC Olympic anchor Bob Costas' eye infection has been in the spotlight at the winter games in Sochi. Costas has elluded to the fact that he has conjunctivitis, or pinkeye.

Dr. Rishi Singh is an opthalmologist at Cleveland Clinic's Cole Eye Institute.  He says "pinkeye" is common this time of year.

"Conjunctivitis is incredibly common this time of year. It's the normal viri or viruses that are part of the cold virus that give you conjunctivitis of the eye. It can spread to both eyes," said Singh.

Singh says conjuctivitis often spreads to the other eye by contact, so they'll advise those who have it to wash their hands frequently and avoid touching their eyes.  He says one of the reasons pinkeye is seen mores o in the winter because it's typically passed like a cold.

"It's more related to those closed scenarios where you are in a plane which probably wasn't as sanitized as everything else is and your sharing pillows or other materials with other people that have viruses of the cold virus that you may have caught. But you can catch it as easily from a doorknob or an elevator button," explained Singh.

Singh says the signs and symptoms include redness, watery eyes, and there could be some pain.  He says this type of infection can last 10 days to two weeks and there are a variety of treatment options.

"It depends on how bad it is. Sometimes, particularly with the start of it we typically just give supportive measures, so we give artificial tears for the irritation and the pain. Sometimes patching the eye can be a benefit if the pain is very severe," Singh added.

Singh says in rare cases steroid drops can be used to decrease the inflammation.

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