Conjunctivitis

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an infection of the eye usually brought on after a head cold or sinus infection. It is usually caused by bacteria that have escaped to the tear ducts from the nasal cavity, although allergies and viral infections can be conduits as well. As a result, the eye gets irritated and an eye infection begins. It is characterized by a bright pink color that covers the white part of the eye.

 

Redness and itching of the eyes are usually the main symptoms, although cold symptoms are often also evident, because conjunctivitis is commonly a secondary infection of a cold or sinus infection. Aversion to bright lights, swelling and a discharge from the eye may be present as well.

How is Conjunctivitis Diagnosed and Treated?

A diagnosis of conjunctivitis is relatively self-explanatory. Your child's doctor will examine the infected eye and check for alternative problems, and if it is conjunctivitis, treatment will probably involve medicated eye drops to bathe the eye and kill the infection. Occasionally the physician may take a sample of the discharge coming from the eye, if one is present, to test for bacteria.

Is Conjunctivitis Contagious?

The infection is highly contagious, easily spread by contact with contaminated liquid from the eye. The patient should be kept away from all other children and other family members until two days after medication is started.

<< Return to Child Health Care >>