AN eye doctor, Dr Jeff Ajewole had linked increasing cases of Apollo, in many parts of Nigeria to poor personal and environmental hygiene as well as overcrowding in schools that makes children more susceptible to contracting the viral infection.
Ajewole, Ophthalmology Society of Nigeria’s former publicity secretary, said germs that cause Apollo, which is medically termed viral conjunctivitis, thrives easily where there is overcrowding.
The eye expert at Eye Care Consultants Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, noting when people’s immunity is lowered, they stand a higher risk of contracting viral conjunctivitis, declared that the eye problem can also be rife in extremes of weathers.
He stated: “Even excessive rain can be a factor. When there is too much rain and the environment is not clean, there will be more contamination and then its likelihood will be higher. So what will have just been a minor problem can spread and so get to an epidemic level.”
Although the Apollo occurs more in children because their body immunity is not fully matured, Dr Ajewole stated that other children and their parents later contract the infections when the macro environment at home is conducive for the germ to spread.
The eye expert, while describing Apollo as a self-limiting disease that without any drug will go on its own, said medicines such as eye drops are only recommended to prevent another bacterial infection that can worsen the eye problem.
According to him, “ordinarily it does not need treatment but we have to give patients something to assure them and also maybe for comfort because it could feel uncomfortable because it is like you have sand in your eye. So you may have to relieve them of some discomfort and if there is a risk of a secondary re-infection, you may want to give eye drops.”
According to him, symptoms include pinkness or redness in the eye red, inflamed inner eyelids, blurred vision, sandy or scratchy feeling in the eye, pus, mucous, or watery discharge from the eye.
Dr Ajewole while cautioning against using things like sugar water, urine, battery water or other local remedies to treat Apollo, advised affected people to keep their hands away from their eyes and thoroughly wash hands before and after applying eye medications on infected children.
He also warned against sharing of towels, washcloth, cosmetics, or eye-drops with others, advising those infected to seek treatment promptly.
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