A study published in Ophthalmology (and reported by The New York Times last week) found most patients prescribed topical antibiotics for conjunctivitis don’t actually need them. The study showed that almost 60% of cases of conjunctivitis are viral and therefore don’t need an antibiotic. The retrospective study included over 340,000 patients diagnosed with acute conjunctivitis. Of the patients in the study, 83% were given a diagnosis by providers other than OD’s or OMD’s.
The authors state, “compared with patients first diagnosed by eye-care providers, those who had been diagnosed by non–eye-care providers had 2- to 3-fold higher odds of filling prescriptions for topical antibiotics”.
resWhy is that so bad?
Because “these potentially harmful practices may prolong infection duration, may promote antibiotic resistance, and increase costs”.