One day you wake up and all your kid's eyes are pink. Pink eye, or pinkeye, is a common name for a condition known medically as conjunctivitis. It's really contagious and can be passed from sheets, towels, pillowcases, hand to eye contact, Kleenexâ€¦you name it. Basically it is an inflammation of the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. It becomes bumpy and irritated and starts discharging pus sometimes too.
Pink eye looks worse than it is because suddenly your kid has the eyes of an albino rabbit. There is also an infectious version of it but the infectious pink eye is much more common.
The same viruses that cause colds, sinus infections, ear infections and sore throats usually cause infectious pink eye. The same types of bacteria that cause gonorrhea and Chlamydia also cause pink eye.
Non-infections pink eye is the consequence of long term inflammation and irrational. It tends to occur more among children who have allergies. All kinds of allergens like ragweed, pollen, grass, animal dander and dust mites can also cause pink eye.
The culprit can also be substance from the environment. This includes soaps, perfume, makeup and chlorine. If you are smoking and your kid has pink eye then you are probably the culprit.
There is another type of pink eye known as giant papillary pink eye or GPC (Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis). Usually, this type occurs only to those who wear contact lenses.
Pink Eye symptoms generally depend on whether you have infectious pink eye or non-infectious pink eye.
Symptoms caused by viral and bacterial pink eye include red watery eyes (and irritation. It is likely to start in one eye and spread to the other. Keep your kids away from each other while this is going on, as it can be really hard to get rid of. Don't let older children with pink eye handle babies.
Get your kids to a doctor if you suspect pink eye. It is only treated with antibiotics. This is no time to fool around with natural remedies. You can also get antibiotic ointments over the counter. If the pain is really severe or if the eyelids are sticking together in the morning after sleeping try using warm water over the eyelids.
There is a viral type that does not cause pink eye except in small children. Special drops are sometimes prescribed by a doctor to help relieve the swelling, pain and inflammation. The redness is unattractive but some kids don't find it painful. Thankfully it is harmless and very rarely causes any kind of long term damage to the eye. Still it should be treated just in case of complications that could compromise the vision.