Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a sort of sac around the eye. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or an allergy. The white part of the eye can become pink or red, and eyelashes may be stuck together with yellow discharge. Usually conjunctivitis burns the eye or is very itchy.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between conjunctivitis caused by bacteria and conjunctivitis caused by a virus or allergies. If the conjunctivitis is thought to be caused by bacteria, we will prescribe antibiotic ointment or drops for your child’s eyes. Use this medication as directed. Try not to touch the eye itself with the medicine tube or dropper. Do not use the medicine for anyone else. Throw the medicine away once the infection is gone. Wash your hands before and after applying the medication.
Conjunctivitis is contagious and can be spread from person to person. To prevent this spread, try to keep your child from rubbing or scratching the eyes. After touching the eyes, hands should be washed with soap and water. A child with conjunctivitis should have his or her own washcloth and towel to prevent spreading the infection to others.
To help soothe eyes with conjunctivitis, wash the eyes and face with water. Cool compresses applied to the eyes can be very soothing. Avoid smoke and anything that irritates the eyes.
Conjunctivitis usually clears up after several days. Call our office during normal business hours if the eyes are not improving after 2 or 3 days or your child develops other symptoms. Also call us if the eyes become more red or swollen, vision is blurred, or if your child develops eye pain.