Could Bob Costas have contracted pinkeye from Botox?
A rumor circulated shortly after Bob Costas was forced to step down from on-camera duties at the Sochi Olympics because of conspicuously reddened eyes. The cause of the pinkeye was not apparent, but the rumor speculated that Costas displayed pinkeye from Botox injections.
Dr. Thomas Wright, of the Laser Lipo and Vein Center in metropolitan St. Louis, says this is highly unlikely.
In truth, it’s not possible to get pinkeye from Botox (or Dysport or Xeomin or any other injectible neurotoxin).
For starters, Botox is a sterile injection. It is put into the muscles of the forehead or the crows’ feet area. It is injected nowhere near the eye itself. Redness of eyes, even a temporary redness, is not a side effect of Botox.
“I believe the confusion around the cause of Mr. Costas’ infection arises from the fact that there is a very rare complication called corneal ulceration that can occur from over treatment of Botox near the eyes resulting in a person’s inability to completely close their eye properly,” Wright said. “This can lead to dry eyes and possible ulceration of the cornea.”
“I have extensive experience treating ‘pink-eye’ and, separately, injecting Botox. Mr. Costas did not show signs on his broadcasts of poor eye contraction; therefore, although I have no direction knowledge of his medical condition, I believe his problem was caused by viral conjunctivitis or ‘pink-eye’ and not from a very rare complication of Botox use.”
The chances of experiencing a corneal ulcer or reaction to Botox is small, and for this condition to affect both eyes the chances are extremely small. Two eyes being affected would be about as likely as getting struck by lightning, then later that day being attacked by a shark, according to Dr. Wright.
“Pink eye is usually caused by a highly infectious virus,” Dr Wright said. “It is less likely caused by bacteria or other causes.”
It is quite common for “pink-eye” to spread to both eyes, which is the case with Costas, Wright said. Since he started with right eye redness followed by left eye redness a few days later, the pattern of one followed several days later with the other eye indicates that a contagious condition spread from one eye to the next.
Viral pink eye spreads like the common cold, so it often begins in one eye and rapidly spreads to the other.
Wright, who is a an Allergan gold level Botox injector and has been administering Botox for over 10 years, also added that the risk for pink eye is increased for people who use contact lenses, as Costas does.
Botox remains a very safe cosmetic injectable used widely for relaxation of frown and squint lines. Pink eye is not at all a likely outcome from its use.