Pink eye is common and easily spread, and it isn’t unusual for children to bring it home from daycare or school. Conjunctivitis is rarely dangerous, but it’s important to monitor your child’s condition and make sure they don’t infect anyone else. Most cases will clear up without incident, but severe or persistent pink eye might warrant a trip to the doctor.
At Harlem VistaSite Eye Care in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Brittni Rodriguez, OD, and Sarah Quan, OD, can diagnose pink eye and recommend appropriate treatment to put them back on track for eye health.
An overview of pink eye
Conjunctivitis, known more commonly as pink eye, refers to the inflammation of the eye, specifically the surface. The conjunctiva is a thin, transparent membrane, covering your eyes and eyelids. An infection or irritant can cause the small blood vessels within to become inflamed, leading to pink eye.
There are three major types of pink eye: allergic, bacterial, and viral. Chemical splashes and foreign objects can also cause irritation, but most cases of conjunctivitis are viral, making the condition highly contagious.
Treating pink eye and preventing spread
If your child has woken up with one or both of their eyes red, crusty, or glued shut, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with pink eye. As long as the inflammation is not severe, you can wipe them clean and apply a cool compress to reduce swelling.
Do not allow your child to go to school with pink eye. If their classmates have not been infected already, you will be putting them at risk. Instead, keep them at home and focus on alleviating their symptoms.
Try to rinse your child’s eyes with artificial tears if you can, but make sure to replace the bottle with a fresh one once you’re done using it. If you use the same eye drops on yourself or others, you could infect them with pink eye as well.
Replace your child’s pillowcase every night until the infection is gone, and do not let them share towels, beds, or clothes with their siblings. Warn them against touching their eyes, and use this opportunity to review proper handwashing techniques.
When to visit a doctor
Most cases of pink eye clear up within a few days, but you should keep an eye on your child’s condition regardless. If the inflammation becomes severe, persists for many days, or doesn’t respond to treatment, the team at Harlem VistaSite Eye Care can help.
Eye infections can quickly become serious, so bring your child in as soon as you begin feeling concerned. We can identify what’s causing your child’s conjunctivitis, and prescribe medicated eye drops to help with bacterial infections.
To schedule an appointment, call 646-453-6506, or book an appointment online today.