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American Safe Sight Foundation (ASF) Urgently Petitions for Safer Eye Care

Delivery in US

American Academy of Ophthalmology is under attack. Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) is a


highly contagious, incurable, viral infection of the eye that may permanently damage the eye. The
single biggest risk factor for contracting EKC is seeing any eye doctor and having an eye exam with
improperly sanitized equipment within 7-14 days before the onset of an eye infection. Even
premature infants with no other risk factors have contracted the EKC infection through eye exams in
neonatal ICU's.

Irvine, CA, May 12, 2017 --(PR.com)-- Each year hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S., and
millions of people worldwide contract preventable eye infections, particularly a serious viral infection
called Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), at their local eye care clinic through inadequate or failed
medical office sanitation according to reports by the CDC, Dr. Kathryn Najafi, and U.S. Dept. of Health.
These are called healthcare acquired infections (HAI's). HAI's overall are estimated to result in deaths of
75,000 to 100,000 Americans a year according to the CDC's report. (accessed at
https://www.cdc.gov/hai/surveillance/).

American Safe Sight Foundation (ASF Safesight.org) believes that "Clean Care is the Best Care,"
however generally speaking, these basic hygiene steps are not part of current ophthalmology practice. For
example, a simple 2 second alcohol wipe may be used to "sterilize" the same tonometer tip that is placed
in your eye as the next 20 patients who all sit in the same chair. Alcohol does not kill most viruses and is
ineffective against threats like EKC, Hepatitis virus, and HIV. According to the CDC, eye practice
reliance on alcohol swabs for disinfection cause many of the EKC propagation. Another example, the
same bottle of eye drops are used on hundreds of patients in an eye office without any disinfection or
disposable single use units. Although other medical and surgical specialities have stringent sterilization,
ophthalmology remains in the dark ages with respect to properly sterilizing and thereby protecting our
most precious gift- our vision.

US CDC In each [EKC] outbreak, health-care-associated transmission appeared to occur via


ophthalmologic examination" (Reference CDC MMWR Aug 2013)

EZ Steps to Eye Health Acquired Infection (HAI) Prevention:

-Use disposable tip or non-contact tonometry devices


-Use single use eye drops
-Use gloves
-Use medical-grade disinfectants to wipe all semicritical surfaces
-Recognize that alcohol wipes are not an acceptable antiviral cleaner
-Make EKC a legally reportable disease in the US

Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) is a highly contagious, incurable, viral infection of the eye that may
permanently damage the eye. The single biggest risk factor for contracting EKC is seeing any eye doctor

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and having an eye exam with improperly sanitized equipment within 7-14 days before the onset of an eye
infection. Even innocent premature infants with no other risk factors have contracted the EKC infection
through eye exams in neonatal intensive care units.

Dr. Ron Nafaji CEO of NovaBay gave the keynote speach at the ASF Inaugural Annual gala at The
Ocean Institute. He says EKC is a miserable and incurable disease which feels like numerous grains of
sand in your eyes and causes severe pain. EKC can cause serious blurred vision, impaired vision, corneal
disease, and ongoing eye symptoms and debility for up to years if not a lifetime. You don't want to get
this disease and need to take precautions at every eye appointment to make sure your ophthalmologist
follows best practices and medically sanitizes the equipment and uses individual eye drops. Steroids are a
terrible thing to give for EKC. Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis is a preventable disease and the message
needs to get to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

In view of the potential for transmission of viruses (e.g., herpes simplex virus [HSV], adenovirus 8, or
HIV) 184 by tonometer tips, CDC recommended that the tonometer tips be wiped clean and disinfected
for 5-10 minutes with either 3% hydrogen peroxide, 5000 ppm chlorine, 70% ethyl alcohol, or 70%
isopropyl alcohol 95. However, more recent data suggest that 3% hydrogen peroxide and 70% isopropyl
alcohol are not effective against adenovirus capable of causing epidemic keratoconjunctivitis and similar
viruses and should not be used for disinfecting applanation tonometers. Reference Citations 49, 185, 186.

No man, woman, or child should ever fear going into their eye doctor for a healthy annual check and and
coming out with a sight threatening eye infection. Therefore, enhancing the best practices in the delivery
of eye care in the U.S. and world is entirely about preventing these diseases through proper sterilization
and good clean care at eye doctor offices and clinics.

EKC is caused by several strains of incurable viruses. There is no uniformly effective treatment, vaccine,
or antiviral medications available for EKC.

A large number of people contract EKC from ophthalmologist or optometrist's office after use of eye
examination equipment, particularly during eye pressure (glaucoma) checks due to improper disinfection
techniques.

It is very important for individuals infected with EKC to take hygienic measures.

*EKC is now in a worldwide epidemic status. The U.S. laws do not require ophthalmologists to report the
disease in their offices. Japan and Germany have made EKC a mandatorily reportable disease.
*EKC virus is not adequately disinfected by 70% isopropyl alcohol, which many eye clinics routinely
use.
*EKC can infect anyone, at any age. It can debilitate the youngest in neonatal intensive care units and the
elderly and low vision patients.
*EKC spread can be easily and simply prevented by proper hygiene, use of disposable supplies, single
use eye droppers in clinics instead of the stock bottle use on multiple patients, medical grade disinfection
at offices, and routine use of universal precautions and gloves at all eye care doctors and ophthalmology

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surgery centers.

Please continue to support enhancements in best practices in eye care by your support and tax deductible
contributions at safesight.org.

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Contact Information:
American Safe Sight Foundation
Dr. Sam Noble
949-751-8346
Contact via Email
http://safesight.org

Online Version of Press Release:


You can read the online version of this press release at: http://www.pr.com/press-release/664780

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