So when I called my co-teacher Wednesday morning to tell her that my eyes were red, blurry, and crusty, she told me not to come into school. I went to see an eye doctor instead.
None of the secretaries at the doctor's office spoke more than a few words of English - luckily, their limited vocab included the words "discharge" and "infection" and ten minutes and 4,000 won ($4) later I was walking out the door with a diagnosis (allergic conjunctivitis) and a prescription. The doctor was very nice and professional, and he spoke a surprising amount of English. Within 2 or 3 days, he said, it should clear up.
I stopped by the pharmacy on the ground floor of the building to pick up my prescription - 2 bottles of eye drops, another 4,000 won (that's 8k total, or about $6 for a doctor's visit and prescription).
Unfortunately, my particular brand of eye infection was not contagious (whoever heard of non-contagious conjunctivitis?), and I returned to school the next day. I say "unfortunately" not because I necessarily wanted to skip school, but because it could have made me some money. I've been told that some enterprising, eye-infected kids, realizing the street value of their illness, will use their "gift" for profit. They charge other students 500 won for the privilege of touching their eyes.