Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is a type of eye infection that can cause the white of the eye to become red and the area around the eye can become swollen. Pink eye is often accompanied by eye discharge, which can create a crust along the eyelash lines and make it difficult to open the infected eye in the morning. Continue reading to learn more about pink eye and what to do if your child has it:
Pink Eye Can be Caused by Bacteria or a Virus
There is not a single type of germ that causes pink eye. If you notice that your child has the common symptoms of pink eye, it is important to know that it can be caused by either a virus or bacteria. It is always a good idea to take your child to an eye doctor when he or she has pink eye. An eye doctor will be able to diagnose the infection and run tests to determine the source of what is causing the pink eye. If the pink eye is caused by a bacterial infection, your eye doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops for your child. If the pink eye is viral, there is no medication to help it-- the infection will take care of itself over the course of several days.
Pink Eye is Very Contagious
Pink eye is very contagious, especially among young kids that often touch their eyes and then touch other items and surfaces. If you learn that your child has pink eye, it is very important to contact his or her daycare facility or school to let them know about the infection. This will give the daycare or school the opportunity to clean and disinfect rooms to help stop the spread of pink eye to other children. Also, you should make plans to keep your child at home until his or her eye no longer shows the symptoms of pink eye and he or she is no longer contagious.
Vision and Eye Health is not Affected by Pink Eye
While pink eye can look really bad, it does not pose a threat to your child's vision or long-term eye health. One of the reasons that pink eye is talked about so much is because of how easy it is to spread it to others. Even if your child contracts pink eye more than once during his or her childhood, you don't have to worry about any long lasting affects.