How to Tell If Your Child Has an Eye Infection
Early diagnosis and treatment when you suspect your child has an eye infection. Conditions like conjunctivitis and keratitis can cause your children severe discomfort and, if left untreated, can lead to more serious issues.
The good news is that many infections clear up quickly with the right treatment, but it’s important to see an ophthalmologist who provides specialized pediatric eye care.
The most common eye infections in children
If the white or lower lid of your child’s eyes are red, they probably have conjunctivitis, otherwise known as “pink eye.” Conjunctivitis is a common infection that can be itchy, painful, and extremely contagious. Your child’s eyes might water and become swollen and crusty with a yellow discharge.
Keratitis is an infection of the cornea, which is the clear, dome-shaped surface at the front of the eye. Viruses, trauma, fungus, parasites, a lack of Vitamin A, and bacteria can all lead to keratitis. Children who wear contact lenses and don’t clean them properly are at a higher risk of keratitis, which can cause pain, redness, watering, blurry vision, discharge, light sensitivity, a foreign body sensation, and even blindness.
Fungal infections aren’t as common as conjunctivitis and keratitis but can be serious if left untreated. Trauma such as a scratch to the eye from something like a stick or a plant can lead to a fungal infection. This type of infection can also occur when children wear contact lenses they aren’t adequately cleaning between wears.
The symptoms for both conjunctivitis and keratitis are much like symptoms of other eye issues such as an allergic reaction or an irritant in the eye, which is why it’s critical to have an ophthalmologist diagnose the infection and prescribe proper pediatric eye infection treatment. Infections typically last for a week to 10 days.
How to treat an eye infection
Depending on the infection, your ophthalmologist will prescribe oral antibiotics or antibiotic eye drops. Regularly wash away any discharge around the child’s eyes with warm water. To prevent the infection from spreading, avoid contact with your child’s eyes during cleaning and administering drops, and wash your hands carefully after.
Eye infections are common in children, and most of them aren’t serious if diagnosed and treated early. If you have any concerns about the health of your child’s eyes, take them to see a pediatric eye doctor as soon as possible.