TikTok creator shares sore eyes prevention tips amid reported increase of cases

July 4, 2023 - 1:47 PM
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Arshie Larga_sore eyes
Pharmacist Arshie Larga at the SMX Convention Center Clark in this photo on his Instagram on May 26, 2023; Stock photo of ooman holding glasses (arshiethromycin/Instagran; Image by stockking on Freepik)

A pharmacist-content creator shared tips and other information about sore eyes or conjunctivitis in light of several reported cases of the medical condition.

Pharmacist Arshie Larga, who hails from Marinduque, tweeted on Sunday that he has observed many people having sore eyes in their community.

“Hindi ko alam kung dito lang sa’min ganito, kasi ang daming my sore eyes dito sa lugar namin,” he wrote on July 2.

Arshie’s tweet has earned over 3,990 likes, more than 470 quotes, and several comments in the replies thread so far.

Some Twitter users agreed with him in the quotes and the replies thread.

“Madami din dito. May isang section sa school na more than half ng students [may] sore eyes. Hawaan talaga,” a Pinoy responded to Arshie.

“Here in Iloilo too. Andaming patients consulted for conjunctivitis (bacterial/viral),” a Twitter user belonging to the medical community commented.

“Wait, [I] got info from our group naman from Dumaguete, mataas cases ng sore eyes rin. Doble ingat lahaaaat,” another user claimed.

Typing the phrase “sore eyes” on Twitter Philippines also brought up recent posts of people separately tweeting about the medical condition.

“The sore eyes outbreak or whatever epidemiological term for it started 2 [two] weeks ago… Health department people don’t seem to know or care about the outbreak though,” neurologist Leonard Pascual wrote on Monday, July 3.

“Ang dami naman uso na sakit. Now it’s sore eyes. Reminder: sore eyes are usually viral in etiology. Observe for 72 [hours] and you can apply some cold compress on the eye area 3x [three times] a day. If it worsens, see a doctor,” infectious diseases and clinical pharmacology expert Benjamin Co said on Sunday.

“Hindi ko maalala na [‘yung] last na nagka-sore eyes ako. E ngayon na lang ‘to ulit,” another Twitter user wrote on Monday.

A COVID-19 symptom? 

Others were reminded of a news report last April that warned Filipinos about sore eyes being a new COVID-19 symptom.

Rontgene Solante, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, previously said that sore eyes are a symptom of the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16.

This was first detected in the country last April.

As of June 27, it has been considered a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization.

A “variant of interest” is partly identified as having “a growth advantage over other circulating variants in more than one WHO region with increasing relative prevalence alongside [an] increasing number of cases over time.”

It comes after “variant under monitoring” and before “variant of concern.”

Meanwhile, Solante in the April press briefing said that patients of the Omicron variant XBB.1.16 were reported to have experienced sore eyes, apart from the usual COVID-19 symptoms of runny nose, headache, sore throat, fever and cough.

He also concluded that XBB.1.16 is “highly transmissible” because it has a growth advantage, based on WHO’s data.

Solante likewise said that the XBB sublineage of Omicron drove the slight increase in COVID-19 cases in the country at that time.

He also advised people with sore eyes to regularly wash their hands.

“And every time they touch their face or eyes, they should not be touching other people because that is another means of transmitting it (virus) to another individual,” the physician said before.

What to do 

Arshie has similar suggestions to the public amid the reported increase of sore eyes in recent weeks.

“Ang daming tao ngayon ang mayroong sore eyes, [ito] ang pwedeng gawin para gamutin at maiwasan ang pagkalat [nito],” he said on a Twitter post on Sunday.

The pharmacist said that those with sore eyes could put a cold compress over the affected area to lessen its swelling or inflammation.

Patients may also buy “artificial tears” or eye drops over the counter to prevent dryness.

Arshie likewise said they have to constantly practice good hygiene to “control the spread of conjunctivitis.”

These include washing their hands with soap and water and avoiding the following:

  • Touching or rubbing their eyes
  • Sharing personal items like pillows, towels, or eye or face makeup that can make contact with or near the eyes.

The Department of Health, through Healthy Pilipinas, defines sore eyes as the “inflammation of the tissue that covers the eyes and lines the inside of eyelids due to a viral or bacterial infection.”

It said that it is also known as “infectious conjunctivitis.”

“This illness makes the eyes itch, tear up, swell, become red, and get painful,” a webpage on Healthy Pilipinas reads.

The health agency said that infectious conjunctivitis is commonly caused by viral infections such as adenoviruses (most common), herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus and molluscum contagiosum virus.

Another cause of conjunctivitis is a bacterial infection, which is more common among children who may unknowingly touch a contaminated object and place their fingers over their eyes or touch it.

The DOH said that this can be prevented by practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding the sharing of personal items such as towels and eye drops.

The healthy agency also shared an infographic on how to treat sore eyes on its Facebook page before.