Could your child’s itchy, red eye be pink eye?
“Pink eye” are two words that no parent loves hearing but it’s one of the most common eye problems to affect both children and adults. In fact, according to the CDC, there are about 3 million cases of pink eye in the US every year. What are the warning signs of conjunctivitis and should you see a pediatrician right away or let the problem run its course?
What is conjunctivitis?
Known as pink eye, this condition causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the clear layer of tissue that covers the whites of the eye. Conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes and is extremely contagious. It’s most commonly passed around in schools. Conjunctivitis can be the result of a bacterial or viral infection, or it can be brought about through certain irritants such as pollen, smoke, or ingredients found in skin care products.
What are the symptoms of conjunctivitis?
Your child might have pink eye if they are experiencing any of these symptoms,
- Redness in the whites of the eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Sensitivity to light
- Excessive tearing
- A gritty feeling in the eye
- Itching or burning eyes
How is pink eye treated?
The treatment your child receives will depend on the cause of their conjunctivitis. Those with allergic conjunctivitis will find that as long as they avoid the offending irritant that the symptoms will go away.
If a bacterial infection is the cause, then antibiotic eye drops will be prescribed. Symptoms should lessen within 3-4 days of treatment but it’s important that you continue using your antibiotics for as long as your children’s doctor recommends.
If a viral infection is to blame there is really nothing that needs to be done, you’ll just have to let the cold or virus run its course. To alleviate symptoms, you can use eye drops or apply a cold compress to the eyes to reduce inflammation and discomfort.
It’s important that you have a pediatrician that you can always turn to for care, no matter if it’s a routine checkup or an emergency visit. From conjunctivitis to sports-related injuries, your children’s doctor will be able to provide comprehensive care to your little one as they grow up to make sure they remain healthy and happy.