Now that young children are back in school, they’re going to be around a lot of other children—and germs. This can make it difficult to control contagious conditions that often spread in school environments, including colds and the flu. However, many parents overlook another condition that can be easily passed between students: pink eye.
What is pink eye?
Pink eye is a condition commonly known in the medical field as as conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation and swelling of the conjunctiva, which is the thin, transparent layer of eye tissue known for covering the white part of the eye. This infection is a minor problem and is often not serious. However, it is highly contagious in situations where individuals are within close quarters, such as daycares and schools. It spreads very easily, and may impact one or both eyes. The condition may be either viral or bacterial, though both are contagious.
What symptoms indicate pink eye?
Pink eye is a condition that is known for causing the white areas of the eye to look pink or red in color. In addition, patients with conjunctivitis may also notice:
- Excessive tearing
- Light sensitivity
- Gritty feeling in the eye
- Pus and discharge from one or both eyes
- Itching and burning sensations
How to treat conjunctivitis
If you suspect you or your child has contracted conjunctivitis, the first step is to schedule an appointment with an optometrist as soon as possible. With a proper diagnosis, treatment can be fast and effective. In most cases, eye drops are given. Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria will improve with antibiotic eye drops or ointment, while conjunctivitis caused by a virus will have to run its course. Patients may use artificial tears to address the discomfort and use warm or cold compresses on the eye area. Either way, assistance from an eye doctor can help patients feel better faster!
Interested in quality eye care?
Speak with Dr. Stuart P. Sondheimer of the Skokie, IL area to learn more about conjunctivitis and other conditions that may impact your child during the school year and beyond. Call (847) 677-2794 today to schedule a consultation visit and initial evaluation for yourself and your family members. The practice is conveniently located at 9150 Crawford Avenue, Ste. 201.