Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis) in Children Questions and Answers
Visit Night Lite Pediatrics Urgent Care to get Pink Eye Treatment for your child. We treat patients from newborn to 21 years old. Our doctors can help with the proper treatment. Walk ins are welcome. Open late night, every night. No appointments needed! Call us today or visit us online. We serve patients from Greater Orlando, Jacksonville, West Melbourne, and Port St Lucie Florida areas.
What is Pink Eye?
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an infection or inflammation that affects the transparent membrane, called the conjunctiva, lining the eyelid that covers the white part, or sclera, of the eyeball. The whites of your eyes will appear pink or reddish when the small blood vessels found in the conjunctiva become inflamed. A bacterial or viral infection is typically the cause for pink eye, but it can also be caused by an allergic reaction or a tear duct in babies that hasn’t completely opened. Pink eye can be highly contagious, but the spread can be limited by early diagnosis and treatment. Pink eye typically does not affect the sufferers’ vision and is more of an irritant, with treatment available to help control and provide relief from the discomfort it causes.
Different Types of Pink Eye
When people hear pink eye, they are probably thinking of the highly contagious viral or bacterial forms of conjunctivitis. These forms are caused by a variety of viruses and can accompany a cold or respiratory infection. Improperly cleaned contacts, or borrowed contacts, can also lead to viral or bacterial conjunctivitis. It is spread through indirect or direct contact of an infected person and specifically the liquid that is expelled from their eyes. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by an allergen such as pollen and affects both eyes. In this case, the pink eye is not contagious as it is the body’s response to exposure to an allergen. Conjunctivitis as the result of an irritant is the other type of pink eye and is caused by a foreign object or chemical splash hitting your eye. This type is also not contagious as again it is the result of the body reacting to a foreign substance that is irritating the eye.
Pink Eye Symptoms
Symptoms of pink eye can include redness in one or both eyes, itchiness in one or both eyes, a gritty, grainy feeling in one or both eyes, a crust that forms overnight from discharge of the eye that can make it difficult to open your eyes in the morning and tearing. In more serious cases, the cornea can experience inflammation that can affect the sufferer’s vision. Symptoms that include eye pain, a feeling of a foreign object stuck in your eye, blurred version or light sensitivity should be evaluated and treated by a doctor immediately to reduce the potential risk of complications.
Treatment for pink eye will vary based on the type of pink eye that an individual has. Allergic conjunctivitis symptoms can be controlled and treated through the use of allergy medication such as antihistamines or allergy eye drops. Conjunctivitis caused by an irritant can usually be treated by flushing and cleaning the eye to get rid of the irritant. Certain chemical splashes need to be treated immediately by a doctor or eye specialist to avoid permanent eye damage. If flushing doesn’t help or the symptoms persist, getting the eye checked will also ensure that the condition is properly treated. Viral or bacterial conjunctivitis will often need to just run its course like any other viral infection. You will need to throw out any contaminated products such as makeup and disinfect contact lenses before reusing them.
How to Prevent Pink Eye
Practicing proper hygiene is the easiest and most effective way to control the spread of pink eye due to its contagious nature. Simple hygiene steps such as washing your hands often, not touching your eyes and using a clean washcloth and towel daily ensure that the bacteria spread is contained. Other good hygiene habits include changing your pillowcases often and throwing away old and contaminated eye cosmetics. Avoiding sharing potentially contaminated items such as towels, washcloths, cosmetics and other personal care items will also ensure the spread is contained.
Should I take my child to the doctor for a pink eye?
A trip to the doctor may be needed depending on the severity of the pink eye and the symptoms your child is exhibiting. For allergic conjunctivitis, a visit to the doctor can help determine the allergen that caused the reaction so it can be avoided and monitored in the future. Allergic reactions can also become more serious with every future event, so it is important to get allergies properly diagnosed and a treatment plan implemented. In the case of an irritant, a doctor can have a close look at the eyes to ensure that the irritant has been completely removed and that there is no permanent damage done to the eye.
If your child is experiencing a case of the pinkeye and may need treatment from a medical professional, contact us today.