What are the causes of Pink Eye?
It could be due to a variety of causes like infections, allergies, injury, foreign body in the eye, chemical reaction, etc. However, the most common cause for Pink Eye is Conjunctivitis.
What is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is an infection of the superficial layer of the eye, i.e., the conjunctiva. The infection could be caused by a virus (most common) and/or some bacteria.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms include pink or red eye, discomfort, discharge, swelling of the lids, difficulty on opening eyes in the morning due to matting of the lashes associated with discharge.
There may be an associated cough or cold or sometimes even fever. Please inform your pediatrician about the same.
How contagious is this disease?
Conjunctivitis is contagious but does not spread by looking at somebody who has it. It spreads mainly by hand contact. For example, if you are putting drops for your child and cleaning his/her eye discharge, you need to wash your hands with soap and water before you move on to doing your next task. If you don’t do so and you touch your eye or face with your infected hands there is a chance you will get the infection too. The children should also be taught to wash their hands every time they touch their eye or face.
Should the child wear dark glasses?
Using dark glasses to prevent it from spreading is not needed. With severe Conjunctivitis, however, if one finds the light too bright, one may use dark glasses temporarily.
Should one avoid looking into the eyes of a Conjunctivitis patient?
The infection for Conjunctivitis does not spread by looking into infected eyes.
What is the treatment?
The treatment generally involves antibiotic eye drops which are prescribed by the doctor.
Should the child stay home from school?
Yes, the chances of spreading Conjunctivitis are very high and children are more susceptible. Hence, it is best to keep the child at home to prevent spreading it to other children.
Will this affect the child’s vision?
Generally, recovery after conjunctivitis is complete. It rarely happens that the infection spreads to the other layers of the eye, like the cornea, thereby affecting vision.