Pink Eye: Common in Children

“Pink eye” is the common name for conjunctivitis, an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the outer, normally clear covering of the sclera or white part of the eye. The eye appears pink when you have conjunctivitis because the blood vessels of the conjunctiva are dilated. Pink eye is often accompanied by a discharge, but vision is usually normal and discomfort is mild. The expert optometrists at Atlanta Eye Care are here to help.

Conjunctivitis can be very contagious. People who have it should not share towels or pillowcases and should wash their hands frequently. They may need to stay home from school or work, and they should stay out of swimming pools. Close contact with so many others in school or day care centers, and poor hygiene practices make children the most likely pink eye targets.

Causes and Treatments for Pink Eye

Either a bacterial or a viral infection may cause conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis is much more common. It may last several weeks and is frequently accompanied by a respiratory infection or cold. Antibiotic drops or ointments usually are not effective treatments. Patients should treat the infection with cool compresses or over-the-counter decongestant eyedrops. Antibiotic eyedrops or ointments usually cure the bacterial conjunctivitis infection in a day or two.

Infections do not cause all cases of conjunctivitis. Allergies can cause conjunctivitis, too. Typically, people with allergic conjunctivitis have itchy eyes, especially in spring and fall. Eyedrops control itching caused by allergic conjunctivitis. It is important not to use medications that contain steroids (names of steroids usually end in “-one” or “-dex”) unless prescribed by an ophthalmologist.

Conjunctivitis does not cause all cases of pink eye. Sometimes more serious conditions, such as infections, damage to the cornea, very severe glaucoma, or inflammation inside the eye will cause the conjunctiva to become inflamed and pink. Conjunctivitis does not impair vision. Schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist if your vision is affected or you experience eye pain.

If you or your children are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above,schedule a consultation at Windward Eye Care or Alpharetta Eye Clinic and let our experts recommend the best treatment. Our offices serve patients in Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell, Johns Creek and other North Fulton communities.