Conjunctivitis Crisis of 1983
The Conjunctivitis Crisis of 1983 is still to this day the worst outbreak of conjunctivitis in the history of eyeballs. On the morning of February 27, 1983, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a huge spike in cases of viral conjunctivitis. By lunchtime that day, over 200 million Americans were afflicted. In order to battle the record-breaking surge, ophthalmologists across the United States were asked to ramp up their hours: that required coming in at 8 AM (instead of 9 AM), working through lunchtime (instead of having a 2-hour lunch break), and possibly staying past 5 PM (never happens). As put by infectious diseases specialist Barbara Shields, "There were so many pink eyes that day. It was a dark time for all the ophthalmologists involved. A few of them even worked through lunch." Since 1984, ophthalmologic clinics pay their respects to the Conjunctivitis Crisis of 1983 by canceling clinic that day and playing an extra round of golf.
Other Medical Holidays