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    Study Finds Most Kids Get Unneeded Antibiotics for Pink Eye Despite Guidelines

    Is Your Child Getting Unneeded Eye Drops?

    Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is one of the most frequent childhood illnesses. While it is usually not serious and clears up on its own within a week or two, eye care specialists are concerned about the overprescription of antibiotics for this self-limiting condition. A new study has found that the majority of pediatric pink eye cases are inappropriately prescribed antibiotic eye drops, conflicting with evidence-based practice guidelines.

    Researchers examined data on over 27,000 cases of pink eye diagnosed in children and teenagers. They discovered that antibiotics were recommended in about 65% of viral conjunctivitis instances, even though guidelines specify these should only be used for severe or potentially sight-threatening bacterial pink eye. Viral pink eye is usually mild and does not require medication as the immune system clears the infection naturally. Unnecessary antibiotic use can promote antimicrobial resistance in virus-causing germs as well as unnecessary costs and side effects for young patients.

    Eye professionals are alarmed by the incongruity between guidelines and real- prescribing habits. Over-reliance on eye drop prescriptions may give parents a false sense of urgency to treat self-limiting pink eye. Doctors may feel compelled to prescribe “just in case” due to time pressures. Raising awareness about the predominance of viral pink eye and its typical course could help address this issue. Parents should consult an ophthalmologist promptly for pink eye accompanied by severe pain, vision changes or discharge instead of self-medicating without a proper diagnosis. Making informed choices about appropriate eye care management can benefit child health outcomes as well as antibiotic stewardship.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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