Scriptopedia: Infectious Disease


Explaining Eye Infections

Welcome to the encyclopedia of patient scripts, or “Scriptopedia,” where you, our readers, submit specific scripts that you or your staff have used with great success in your practice. Each script is presented with the goal of either increasing patient education or the dispensing of a product or service. This month's topic: Infectious disease.

You have caught a cold inside your eye called viral conjunctivitis or “pink eye.” There are no magical drops I can prescribe to make this go away overnight. Remember: The eye doesn't sneeze, so you contaminated yourself. You will contaminate others through direct contact with the virus. I want you to go home, and wash everything you have ever touched (say this with a smile), including your towels, sheets and pillowcases. Also, wash your hands frequently. Disinfect your phone and computer with rubbing alcohol or alcohol pads. Disinfect your makeup (hand the patient alcohol pads), and toss your mascara. Use preservative-free lubricating drops every one to two hours to wash out the virus. Avoid touching your face, so you don't contaminate your other eye (if it is not already infected), and use a cold, wet paper towel to calm the inflammatory cells fighting the infection. Finally, make appointments for your family in two days up front, as they may catch this if you are not careful. Enjoy the next two days off getting caught up on your favorite TV show. Brianna Rhue, O.D., F.A.A.O., Tamarac, Fla.

You have a (bacterial, viral, fungal) infection. Please don't be alarmed, I've seen this many times before, and I will see it again after yours resolves. To get you better, I want you to take medicine X, X times per day in X eye/eyes. Avoid touching the bottle tip to your eyes, as it can further contaminate your eye. Use artificial tears, and warm compresses to calm the symptoms. Please come back tomorrow, so I can see whether the medication is starting to work. If it's not, we may need to add to it or change it. One of the main hallmarks of an infectious disease is that it's contagious. To prevent spreading the disease, always wash your hands, wash your sheets and pillowcase, avoid shaking hands and contact with others for X days. If any of your family or friends that you have been in contact with start to exhibit symptoms, tell them to call for an appointment sooner rather than later so we can get them treated as well. Finally, if your vision gets worse, your eye gets redder or your discomfort increases after tomorrow's appointment, call my emergency number immediately. I am always available to you. As a general rule, this type of infection improves. Some patients take longer and some shorter. I will help you along the way, but you need to be an active participant in your care. So, please follow the rules, and call me if you need me. Andrew Morgenstern, O.D. F.A.A.O., Bethesda, MD.


JANUARY: Difficult Patients: 1

FEBRUARY: Difficult Patients: 2

Please submit to Jennifer Kirby, senior editor of Optometric Management, at for possible publication.