DAR ES SALAAM: AN eye specialist has demystified the myths surrounding treatment of viral conjunctivitis, an eye infection commonly known as ‘Red Eyes’ which has hit some regions in the country including Dar es Salaam, Coast and Dodoma regions.
According to Ophthalmologist (an eye care specialist) from Bukoba Regional Referral Hospital in Kagera Region Dr Daniel Mashamba, the use of salty water, urine, breast milk and tea leaves have not been scientifically proven to treat the viral infection.
“This disease outbreak is caused by the virus known as Adenovirus which takes between two to six weeks since the eye is infected until it is cured,” Dr Mashamba said.
He said in most cases viral infection lacks specific treatments, “so we don’t typically recommend medications due to the risk of unexpected complications.”
“Individuals must focus on preventive measures stipulated by the government and avoid using unverified medications to avoid further complications,” Dr Mashamba explained.
He said that for those who rely on hospital medications, thorough professional testing is crucial to ensure proper diagnosis, considering potential bacterial infections.
Dr Mashamba said buying medication over the counter without a professional eye examination can exacerbate the problem, thus delaying recovery. The recovery time varies from person to person, some experiencing a quicker healing process than others.
He warned against using salty water, stating that it can lead to discomfort and potentially worsen the condition, causing abrasions or even sores.
Dr Mashamba said that the virus cannot be cured easily by those means that many people resort to, adding that the only way to overcome the disease is to follow the precautions that the government through the Ministry of Health has issued.
He added that some individuals resort to using breast milk, saying that is commonly considered suitable for newborns from their mothers.
“Caution is advised, as research suggests potential health risks when obtaining breast milk from nursing mothers who are not related to the patient. Similar concerns are raised regarding the use of tea leaves and urine, with no scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness against the virus,” he emphasised.
Dr Mashamba emphasised that there is no concrete evidence supporting the effectiveness of unconventional treatments, saying the means is more psychological than scientifically grounded.
Individuals are urged to follow established guidelines and avoid unnecessary infection including avoiding touching their eyes with their hands, washing hands with clean water and soap, and maintaining overall hygiene to prevent further spread of the disease.
The public is advised to use running water to wash their eyes or a tissue for wiping tears away from the cheeks while avoiding direct contact with the eyes.
The Ministry of Health recently urged members of the public to take precautionary measures following the outbreak of Red Eyes disease.
It urged citizens to take various precautions, including avoiding touching their eyes with their hands, washing hands with clean water and soap, and maintaining overall hygiene to prevent further spread of the disease.
It said the disease has no specific treatment and typically resolves within two to six weeks, depending on the individual, advised the people not to use unverified medications to avoid further complications.