Common Eye Problems In Small Children: Pink Eye

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 by Dr. Thomas Marvelli

Pink eye is one of the most common eye problems that afflict young children. Pink eye is a common term used to refer to the various forms of conjunctivitis. Technically speaking, this condition is used to refer to the acute and highly contagious form of conjunctivitis, which is the acute inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the eyelids’ inner surface and overlies the white part of the eye known as the sclera. Bacterial and viral infections are the main causes of this type of conjunctivitis.

Luckily, despite its frequent occurrence, you can have your child’s eye condition easily treated by visiting your pediatric ophthalmologist or an eye specialist in Fort Worth can offer. To be sure the condition is pink eye and not local eye irritation due to other causes such as coming into contact with insects, here are the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Pink Eye Signs and Symptoms

The hallmark sign of this type of conjunctivitis is the reddish or pink appearance to the eye as a result of dilation of the conjunctival blood vessels. This often happens in both eyes, though in some cases only one eye is affected. In some types of this condition, you may notice yellow or green mucous discharge, itchy eyes and watery eyes that are highly sensitive to light.

How can you tell if your child is suffering from bacterial or viral conjunctivitis? Here are some clues:

  • Conjunctivitis that is caused by a virus leads to excessive eye-watering that is sometimes accompanied by a light discharge.
  • Conjunctivitis that is caused by bacteria causes a thick and sticky discharge that is sometimes greenish.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis usually affects both eyes and causes redness and itching in the eye and sometimes the nose, as well as excessive tearing.
  • GPC, or Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis, is a special type of Conjunctivitis that often affects both eyes and leads to itching, intolerance to contact lenses, a heavy discharge, as well as red bumps and tearing.

To make a proper diagnosis of the condition, you will need to pay a visit to your pediatric ophthalmologist who will collect a sample swab for analysis.

What Causes Pink Eye?

Although pink eye affects people of any age, it is far more common in young children, preschoolers and school children. Apart from bacteria and virus infections, the condition is also caused by allergic reactions to pollen, dust, chemicals, smoke and fumes. Some children can also exhibit allergic reactions to foreign bodies such as contact lenses.

Treatment of Pink Eye

There are two main ways of dealing with this condition:


Your ophthalmologist will usually prescribe an astringent to prevent the bacteria infection from spreading. The doctor might also prescribe artificial tears that will relieve eye dryness and discomfort in your child. Antibiotic ointments and eye-drops are usually enough to alleviate conjunctivitis that is caused by bacteria and virus. If the condition has been caused by an allergic reaction, the ophthalmologist will prescribe antihistamine eye-drops or allergy pills. In most cases, conjunctivitis heals quickly in a few days or a week. In some cases, however, it can get progressively worse and develop into something more serious. If your kid develops the condition, avoid using eye drops that were given to you in your previous visits to your eye specialist because the cause of the problem could be different this time around.


Avoid the common causes of conjunctivitis such as contaminated hand towels. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are both airborne, so if one of your kids develops the condition, your other kids are also at risk of developing the same. To prevent allergic conjunctivitis, keep your doors and windows closed when there is a lot of pollen in the air. Make sure you dust and vacuum your house frequently to get rid of potential allergens in the house. Also make sure your house is well-ventilated. If you notice the early symptoms of pink eye on your kids, apply a cold compress over the eyes to sooth them. If the condition was caused by wearing contact lenses, change into a different type.

Pink eye can be an uncomfortable condition for small children. Talk to an eye specialist Fort Worth locals can trust, as soon as you notice the early symptoms of the disease.

Call the Marvel Eye Center today! 817-346-7333

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