Symptoms of EKC
What are the symptoms of EKC?
Individuals will initially feel an irritating sensation in one or both eyes. This typically can start in the nasal corner of the eye and spread side ways along the eye. Individuals may start to complain of sensitivity to light, swelling, itching, tearing, blurred vision, and a clear or yellow discharge causing the eyelids to stick together. The symptoms may remain isolated to one eye, but will often spread to the other eye in two to seven days.
- Swollen eyelids and painful red eyes
- Copious eye discharge
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
Symptoms typically develop on average 6-11 days after exposure to the EKC virus. With EKC, the symptoms have a wide range of severity. Once the surface of the eye (called cornea) is affected, microscopic holes often appear along the eye that will resemble clear tiny dots, which may permanently damage the eye. Although acute symptoms typically heal within three to six weeks, many individuals may have symptoms for the better part of a year. Individual who have been infected with EKC may continue to suffer from subepithelial infiltrates called SEI’s, with symptoms wax and wane. Periodic SEI”s may act up or flare when stressed, ill, or prolonged periods of staring at a computer or reading.
Some individuals experience persistent dry-eyes for a long period of time, even after they have recovered from the acute phase of EKC. In these cases, the individuals may require medical treatment for the severe dry eyes. Some cases of EKC causes a marked drop in vision and visual accuracy, requiring steroid eye drops to be able to see properly. EKC may cause vision in some with 20/20 vision to suddenly drop to 10/100 or 30/80, thereby causing a significant disability in vision. Additionally, use of steroid eye drops may often lead to a dependency where the individuals are unable to stop using the steroid.