Commonly known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is a minor inflammation of the eye that may look severe but is rarely serious. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a bacteria or virus (infectious) or an allergen or irritant (noninfectious). In both cases, the condition affects the tissue covering the eye and the inner eyelid.
Although conjunctivitis is most common in young children, it is possible to suffer from the condition at any age. As conjunctivitis can very occasionally put eyes and vision at risk, if you think your child is suffering from the condition, you should seek medical attention, advises KidsHealth.
Conjunctivitis and Pink Eye in Newborns
Even newborns can have conjunctivitis — caused by a blocked tear duct, irritation from topical antimicrobials or eyedrops, or an infection passed to the baby at birth, explains Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Look out for signs including red, puffy, tender eyelids between 1 day and 2 weeks after birth.
Your doctor will be able to diagnose the type of conjunctivitis and provide appropriate treatment. For infectious conjunctivitis, this will consist of antibiotics plus a saline rinse to remove pus from eyes. If pink eye is due to a blocked tear duct, a gentle massage between the eyes and nasal area can release the obstruction; however, if the condition persists, your child may need surgery. Chemical conjunctivitis usually lasts for just 24 to 36 hours and typically requires no treatment.
How to Prevent Spreading the Condition
Conjunctivitis for allergens is not contagious, but bacterial or viral pink eye is. Prevent spreading the condition to other kids by following these steps by CDC:
- Clean eyes from discharge regularly using a clean cotton ball or tissue. Make sure to wash your hands before and after, and avoid touching your eyes at any other time.
- Avoid sharing eyedrops, pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, towels, makeup, and eyeglasses.
- Stay out of the swimming pool.
All kids need their own pair sunglasses both to avoid the spread conjunctivitis and to keep their eyes safe UV rays at all times. Check out the Real Kids collection to find shades for your kids.