Pink eye caused by a bacterial infection usually involves a
lot of drainage. You may notice this especially when your child wakes up and
their eye(s) are very “goopy.” The discharge can also be green in
In both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, the discomfort and
infection can be in just one or both eyes. Sometimes just an allergen can cause
pink eye. It can mimic that of bacteria and viral conjunctivitis-but removing
the irritant should remedy the redness and discomfort.
Conjunctivitis can present in newborns for various reasons.
Sometimes bacteria enter their eyes during the birthing process. This is one
of the reasons ointment is applied to the eyes shortly after birth.
Partial or total blocked tear ducts can also cause irritation
and pink eye in newborns and children.
Other infections and disease can also cause conjunctivitis.
Newborns can be exposed to Gonorrhea and Chlamydia from mom during delivery.
In older children (and newborns) any exposure to a herpes virus
can also lead to conjunctivitis.
Treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the child’s age
and the cause.
Most bacterial forms of conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotic
drops or ointments placed directly on the eye.
Viral forms may have no treatments at all, or a doctor may prescribe
antibiotic drops to prevent other infections.
If an allergic reaction is to blame, removing the allergen should
help. Your child’s doctor may write a prescription for an allergy medication
to help with the symptoms.
Anytime conjunctivitis is present, extra care needs to be taken.
The infection can spread easily from one eye to the other. Good hand washing
techniques are always important. When using tissues, make sure you use a new
section when wiping each eye. When giving eye drops, make sure the tip of the
bottle does not come in direct contact with the eye.
Remember that not all forms of conjunctivitis are contagious.
Diagnosis can be made by simple examination or a doctor may choose to do a culture
of the drainage. If viral or bacterial infections are diagnosed, the drainage
from the eye is contagious for about two days after antibiotic treatment.
Your child will need to stay home from school or daycare until
they are no longer contagious.