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      The Differential Diagnosis of Red Eye: A Survey of Medical Practitioners from Eastern Europe and the Middle East


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          A survey amongst ophthalmologists and general medical practitioners from nine countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East was conducted to estimate the percentage of patients presenting with a red eye and to examine differential diagnosis and treatment. Practitioners recorded brief details of every patient seen and detailed information concerning signs and symptoms, differential diagnosis and treatment for all patients presenting with a red eye during 20 consecutive days in the period between May and September 2004. Red eyes accounted for approximately 15% of consultations with ophthalmologists and almost 6% with general medical practitioners. Allergic conjunctivitis was the most common diagnosis (35%), followed by dry eye (25%) and bacterial conjunctivitis (24%). General medical practitioners were far more likely to prescribe a combination topical antibiotic and steroid preparation than ophthalmologists. This survey illustrates that red eye remains a very important problem for both ophthalmologists and general medical practitioners. Identification of dry eye as a common cause of red eye symptoms and more appropriate treatment of dry eye, allergic conjunctivitis and viral conjunctivitis are key messages to emerge.

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          Most cited references8

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          Predicting bacterial cause in infectious conjunctivitis: cohort study on informativeness of combinations of signs and symptoms.

          To find an efficient set of diagnostic indicators that are optimally informative in the diagnosis of a bacterial origin of acute infectious conjunctivitis. Cohort study involving consecutive patients. Results of index tests and reference standard were collected independently from each other. 25 Dutch health centres. 184 adults presenting with a red eye and either (muco)purulent discharge or glued eyelid(s), not wearing contact lenses. Probability of a positive bacterial culture, given different combinations of index test results; area under receiver operating characteristics curve. Logistic regression analysis showed optimal diagnostic discrimination for the combination of early morning glued eye(s), itch, and a history of conjunctivitis. The first of these indicators increased the likelihood of a bacterial cause, whereas the other two decreased it. The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve for this combination of symptoms was 0.74 (95% confidence interval 0.63 to 0.80). The overall prevalence of bacterial involvement of 32% could be lowered to 4% or raised to 77%, depending on the pattern of index test results. A bacterial origin of complaints indicative of acute infectious conjunctivitis can be made much more likely or unlikely by the answers to three simple questions posed during clinical history taking (possibly by telephone). These results may have consequences for more targeted prescription of ocular antibiotics.
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            Efficacy and Tolerability of Newer Antihistamines in the Treatment of Allergic Conjunctivitis

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              A comparison of the efficacy and tolerability of olopatadine hydrochloride 0.1% ophthalmic solution and cromolyn sodium 2% ophthalmic solution in seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.

              Treatments for allergic conjunctivitis have various mechanisms of action. Cromolyn sodium stabilizes conjunctival mast cells by preventing calcium influx across the cell membrane, whereas olopatadine hydrochloride is both an antihistamine and a mast cell stabilizer. This study compared the efficacy and tolerability of olopatadine and cromolyn in controlling the ocular signs and symptoms of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. This was a multicenter, randomized, double-masked, parallel-group trial. One group instilled olopatadine 0.1% ophthalmic solution and placebo BID, and the other instilled cromolyn 2% ophthalmic solution QID, both for 6 weeks. The formulation of cromolyn used in this study is currently available only in Europe and Australia. The intent-to-treat efficacy and safety analyses included 185 patients, 91 in the olopatadine group and 94 in the cromolyn group. At 30 minutes after the first instillation, respective decreases of approximately 30% and approximately 20% were reported in self-rated ocular itching and redness with both treatments; by 4 hours, itching had decreased by approximately 38% in both groups. Differences between treatments were not statistically significant. At 4 hours, redness had decreased by approximately 38% and approximately 26% in the respective treatment groups. By day 42, both treatments had produced significant reductions from baseline in ocular signs and symptoms; however, the reductions in itching and redness were significantly greater with olopatadine compared with cromolyn (both variables, P < 0.05). The difference in physicians' impression of overall improvement on days 30 and 42 significantly favored olopatadine over cromolyn (both days, P < 0.05). Most patients (62.2%) had reacted positively to grass pollen at baseline. The regression slopes correlating itching and redness with pollen count were 5 times lower for olopatadine compared with cromolyn (P = 0.002 and P = 0.016, respectively), indicating that olopatadine's efficacy increased as the pollen count increased. Six weeks' instillation of olopatadine 0.19% ophthalmic solution BID had a significantly greater effect on the ocular signs and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis compared with 6 weeks' instillation of cromolyn 2% ophthalmic solution QID. Both treatments were well tolerated by patients in all age groups; however, olopatadine appeared to have better local tolerability in children aged <11 years.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                June 2006
                21 June 2006
                : 220
                : 4
                : 229-237
                aZagreb University Hospital Eye Department, Zagreb, Croatia; bDepartment of Ophthalmology, Military Institute of Aviation Medicine, Warsaw, Poland; and cDepartment of Ophthalmology, Alexandrovska University Hospital, Sofia, Bulgaria
                93076 Ophthalmologica 2006;220:229–237
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                : 03 June 2005
                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 4, References: 20, Pages: 9
                Original Paper

                Vision sciences,Ophthalmology & Optometry,Pathology
                Conjunctivitis,Ocular hyperemia,Differential diagnosis of red eye


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