Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, refers to inflammation of the thin lining that covers the eye. Children with pink eye usually have itchy, watery eyes that can be somewhat red. There can also be eyelid swelling and stringy discharge from the eyes. It can be one-sided or affect both eyes. It can also be associated with sneezing and runny nose.
There are many causes of pink eye including viruses, bacteria, herpes virus, and allergies. By far the most common causes of pink eye are allergies and non-herpes viruses.
Most cases of conjunctivitis can be diagnosed through a medical history and physical exam of the child’s eye. If the cause is viral, it will get better on its own although antibiotic drops can be prescribed to help relieve some irritation and prevent a secondary bacterial infection. If is a bacterial infection, the child may benefit from antibiotic drops. Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with anti-allergy medications such as antihistamines. Cool compresses can also help relieve some of the irritation symptoms.