Pink Eye: Conjunctivitis

Pink eyes are exactly that- pink eyes caused by any number of things.   The eyes are usually pink, can be crusty, watery, swollen or itchy.  


This is a pick eye that occurs in the first month of life.  It's scarier than other pink eye because it can be caused by bacteria that can cause blindness.  The eye can also be pink because of other evil stuff.  Because of this, we need to see your baby with the first episode of crud coming out of the eye, pink eyes or swelling of the eyelid.  It's especially important that we see the kids right away of you know that you had chlamydia, gonorrhea or herpes during your pregnancy.

Check out stuff on blocked tear ducts too!


Most pink eyes in children are caused by infections (and usually from wiping snot from the nose to the eye area!), but allergies, trauma, inflammation from diseases like Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and (rarely) tumors, can cause a pink eye as well.

Infectious pink eye can be bacterial or viral.  Both are really easy to spread.  Bacterial conjunctivitis needs antibiotics, in the form of eye drops, to get better.  Viral conjunctivitis, as most viruses do, get better with time and no medication.

Watery eye drainage is likely to be viral or allergic.  We have great medications to help allergic red, itchy watery eyes, so call and we'll see your child to get that fixed.  Viral conjunctivitis gets better by itself with no medication (have I said that before?)  You can wash the eyes out with saline drops, and use cold compresses for comfort.

Thick gooey eye drainage is likely to be bacterial.   That needs antibiotics to get better.  If the symptoms are just in the eye, that's easier to fix because we need eye drops.  If your child is sick, with snot, coughing, and eye drainage, the we should get together because the pink eye may be part of a bigger problem.  One particularly common childhood bacteria causes pink eye and ear infections.

The kids can return to school or daycare after 24 hours of treatment. Like other infections that involve secretions, it spreads easily.  Wash your hands!