February 28, 2014
1 min read

BLOG: #BobCostasPinkeye

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Read more from Darrell E. White, MD.

Admit it. You were more than a little bit interested in poor Bob Costas and his pink eye. Heck, if you were anything like me, it’s all your non-eye doc friends wanted to talk to you about. Maybe you even tweeted about it with a fancy hashtag. Guilty on that one, personally. But more than any of that, weren’t you fascinated by not only the whole spectacle (pun intended), but also about how and why it got to be such a big deal?

As an ophthalmologist who takes care of ocular surface diseases, my very first questions had to do with contagion precautions. More precisely, the apparent absence of precautions in the first couple of days. I get incredibly compulsive about cleanliness when I have a patient with pink eye in my office, where I have pretty much total control over the entire environment. I truly felt for the guests Mr. Costas interviewed. Here’s to hoping there was no “second wave” of cases cropping up on the plane rides home for athletes and NBC staffers.

There are all kinds of physicians on the staff of each Olympic team. Was there an ophthalmologist? I sat there night after night wondering when someone would overnight an AdenoPlus (Nicox) to Sochi and test poor Bob for adenovirus. Imagine the guerilla marketing Bausch + Lomb could have done if he was then given Zirgan (ganciclovir ophthalmic gel 0.15%) to treat the infection (off label though it may be), and even a touch of topical steroid to relieve his discomfort (despite controversial findings that steroids alone might increase contagion), and by extension, reaching viewers all over the world. I can name a dozen U.S. ophthalmologists who would have happily climbed aboard NBC private iron and flown over for a consultation. Talk about a missed PR opportunity for our various “alphabet” organizations.

Although the company that makes Bob’s glasses should be crowing about how good he looked in his specs!

Disclosure: White is a consultant for Nicox, Allergan, Eyemaginations and Bausch + Lomb. He is on the speakers board for Nicox, Allergan and TearLab.