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What to Do When You Suspect Pink Eye

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is the inflammation of the conjunctiva — the thin membrane that lines the eyelids and sclera (the white part of the eye).

With pink eye, the sclera usually turns dark pink or red, and the eyes become watery and discharge mucus. Pink eye is extremely common and, when caused by a virus or bacteria, highly contagious, especially around children in daycare and schools. Bacterial pink eye can be treated with antibiotic eye drops and ointments, which eradicates the infection quickly. Viral pink eye usually resolves on its own.

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What Causes Pink Eye?

To prevent your child from contracting and spreading pink eye to others, it’s important to know what causes it in the first place. Pink eye can be caused by:

  • Viruses (very contagious)
  • Bacteria (very contagious)
  • Allergens like pollen (not contagious)
  • Irritants like dust or smoke (not contagious)

What Are Pink Eye Symptoms?

Eye doctors can usually diagnose the cause of pink eye based on your child’s eye history and symptoms.

Pink eye symptoms usually include:

  • Crusting of the eyelids or lashes
  • Burning, itchiness or irritation
  • Discharge
  • Grittiness
  • Redness or swelling
  • Watery eyes
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How to Prevent the Spread of Pink Eye

There are several things your child can do to prevent the spread of pink eye to their peers and others in your household:

  • Have your child wash their hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Remind them not to touch their eyes.
  • Do not allow your child to share towels or pillows while infected, and wash them in hot water daily.
  • If your child is a pre-teen or teen, make sure they do not share any eye makeup, such as mascara. If their eye doctor diagnoses them with pink eye, throw away their eye makeup.
  • If your child wears contact lenses have them stop wearing them until their eye doctor says it’s okay.
  • Keep your child out of school or daycare until the pink eye is treated.

Schedule an appointment with your child’s eye doctor, who will determine whether your child has pink eye, and prescribe treatment. Contact Advanced Eyecare Center in Manhattan Beach today!

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