Have you ever noticed both or one of your baby’s eyes appearing light red or pink when they wake up in the morning? I faced a similar situation with my 4-year-old child recently, and I would like to share my experience with you. In this article, I will discuss everything about conjunctivitis in kids, including its symptoms, types, medications, how to take care of your child, and prevention.ur child, and prevention.ur child, and prevention.
What is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is a condition where the thin, transparent membrane between the eyeball and eyelid, known as the conjunctiva, becomes inflamed or red. There is a common myth that conjunctivitis spreads simply by looking into the eyes of an infected person, but this is not true. The infection spreads only if the virus or bacteria present in the infected person’s eye comes in contact with you by sneezing, coughing, touching the infected person’s eye, or if the infected person rubs their eyes and then shakes hands with you without washing them. It can take one to two weeks to fully recover from conjunctivitis. There are three types of conjunctivitis: viral, bacterial, and allergic. The bacterial type is the most contagious and requires prompt and accurate treatment.
Viral conjunctivitis is a common eye infection that affects both children and adults. It is caused by the same virus that causes colds and coughs. This infection is highly contagious and can easily spread in crowded places like schools and offices. Its symptoms include itchiness, burning sensation, eye pain, watery discharge, and a noticeable red spot in one or both eyes. It is common for children to rub their eyes frequently when they have this infection.
Bacterial conjunctivitis:- This is the most dangerous form of conjunctivitis. It is very contagious and needs timely treatment. Its symptoms are red eye, white or milky discharge from the eye, eye pain, burning sensation, itchiness, and swollen eyes. It can affect one eye or both eyes. Symptoms may vary from person to person. It is always a good idea to get your eyes checked whenever you feel your eyes are not normal like before.
Allergic conjunctivitis is not very common in people. It affects those who have a family history of allergy to dust, microbes, animal fur, pollution, smoke, and other pollen particles present in the air. Its symptoms include irritation, itchiness, eye pain, little watery discharge, rubbing of the eyes more often, cold, and cough. This can also affect only one eye or both eyes. This is not contagious and doesn’t spread to others.
Viral and allergic conjunctivitis can be cured on its own without any eye drops or ointments. But still, doctors give some eye drops to stop itchiness and eye pain. Bacterial conjunctivitis should be cured with antibiotic eye drops. It may take 15 to 20 days to get completely cured. Your doctor will give you eye drops that you should use properly on time for 10 to 15 days.
- Limit screen time.
- Wash your hands and face properly excluding your eyes whenever you come home.
- Clean your eyes with soft wet cotton or cloth daily.
- Give your eyes rest as much as possible.
- Avoid going to school or the office if you have viral or bacterial conjunctivitis as there is a chance of spreading to others.
- Avoid eye makeup or applying kajal when your eyes are infected.
- Stop using contact lenses till you recover fully.
- Avoid bright and colorful lights.
My Kids Story:-
My son was 4 years old when he got his first conjunctivitis. It was a rainy season and everyone in my neighborhood was getting conjunctivitis. My kid was also going to school every day. Their school also gave us a notice that if any student gets conjunctivitis, please don’t send them to school and also told us how to take care of it. Days passed and when I thought that conjunctivitis was gone now my kid came from school with a light red left eye. Since only his one eye was red we thought this could be due to his allergy to dust and pollution in school. At night my kid started rubbing his eyes and told me that it was paining. We thought maybe it was due to continuous screen time. The next day he went to school. His eye was the same. The next morning when he woke up, his eye was completely red and it looked very scary to me. There was also a little watery discharge in the morning when he woke up. We didn’t send him to school that day and went straight to the eye hospital. The doctor said that he had conjunctivitis and we shouldn’t send him to school for one week. He also gave me 3 different eye drops to use for 5 days for bacterial conjunctivitis and told me to come again on 6th day. Those were:-
- TOBRAWIN LP – 4 times a day.
- HYDRAKEM – 3 times a day.
- BEPIREX – 2 times a day.
Putting eye drops in kid’s eyes is itself a very difficult task. They don’t cooperate with us and cry a lot as if we are doing something to their eyes. But still, since it’s very important to put eye drops, I had to scold him and put eye drops in his eyes forcefully for one week. After one week he got used to it and didn’t cry when I put eye drops in his eyes. After 5 days of its use, his red eye decreased a bit but didn’t cure completely. On 6th day when we went to the doctor, he told us that conjunctivitis was still there and told us to continue the same drops for 10 days. During this visit, he also told us that our kid might have some eyesight and he needs to wear spectacles. This news shocked us. It shook us more than the conjunctivitis infection. Though me and my husband both have eyesight, we didn’t want our kid to have eyesight at such a small age. He said he needs to check his eyesight after he gets completely cured of conjunctivitis. We thought that this doctor might have gotten something wrong because there was no chance of our kid getting eyesight because his immunity was strong, his screen time was limited, he didn’t play games on his phone, and he never complained about eye pain. So we decided to get his eyes checked in a very big and well-known eye hospital in Hyderabad called LV Prasad Eye Hospital after his conjunctivitis. We booked the appointment and got our appointment after one month.
After one month when he was completely cured and his eyes were normal, we went to the hospital. After one hour of detailed checking of my kid’s eyes, they concluded that there was no sign of any conjunctivitis or eyesight. His eyes were normal and healthy. Though it took us 4 to 5 hours for his eye checkup, traveling to the hospital, waiting in line, and being patient, it was all worth it as our kids were completely normal. They just told us to use REFRESH eye drops once every week to lubricate the eyes as the eyes may get dry very often due to reading, writing, and screen time.
After 3 months, my kid again had a red eye. It was very light for the first 2 days and slowly increased on the 3rd day. He was also rubbing his eyes a lot but didn’t have any eye pain or discharge. We got the appointment after 2 days. Till that time doctor told us not to use any drops and can use refresh drops to lubricate his eyes and keep them clean. After 2 days when we went to the hospital, after a clear examination, the doctor told us that this was allergic conjunctivitis. It was caused due to dust or pollution. He gave us some eye drops to prevent itchiness and inflammation and told us to come back after one month to check again.
After a few days of using these drops, his eyes were normal again. But since one year, he has a light red color small spot in his left eye on the cornea. When I asked the doctor about it, he said it was normal and nothing to worry about. The eyes are off course a very delicate organ of our body and we need to take care of it properly. Washing your eyes with cold water is one habit that me and my kid do every day. And whenever you have stressed your eyes a lot, it’s better to put refresh eye drops before sleeping. This will lubricate your eyes and keep them cool.