A number of years ago an outbreak of pink eye in a elementary school had all the moms frantic and half of the school would be missing in action shortly after the announcement was sent home. Those days were prior to the education parents and health care providers have been receiving in current times about preventive measures to help in ceasing the spread of pink eye. In the past if one child was infected by pinkeye it was not long before half the class ended up with it too. Now that personal hygiene is taught more extensively in the schools at an earlier age parents are becoming more aware of how to prevent further infection of pink eye at home. This has helped seclude outbreaks so they occur less frequently than previously. It is still not unheard of to occasionally see a major outbreak spread rapidly through a school. Pink eye can cause any parent concern when they see their child come home from school with a pink to extremely red eye. Hemorrhagic forms of pinkeye cause small amounts of blood to spread out over the white part of the eye and the appearance exceeds their actual capacity to damage eyesight. The first scare is eye damage. Thankfully, pink eye rarely causes any long-term eye vision damage and some types of pink eye can resolve without any treatment in a week or so.
Pinkeye, otherwise known as conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva that can be caused by infections, allergies, viruses, colds, bacteria, or a substance that irritated the eye leading to an infection. Just because some pink eye types will fade away without intervention, never risk a your childrens sight with that thought process; always seek out medical eyecare from your family Optometrist immediately. Some forms of pinkeye can be debilitating for up to a year. Other more serious eye diseases may look like pinkeye but indeed may be a very serious type of eye disease. Most schools will not let your child return to school unless you can show proof that you have seen one of the Eye Doctors in your area. Your Optometrist can give your child a clean bill of health when they feel like they are no longer contagious. Unfortunately, this is not an exact science but a reasonable enough guess to significantly reduce the spread of pinkeye today. Typically a child will need to be out of school for 3-4 days.
Newborns born with pink eye is generally due to the mother passing on an STD (sexually transmitted disease) to the infant through the birth canal and can be serious if not caught at onset. Doctors have become more then vigil in checking birth mothers prior to birth for STDs that can cause serious side effects in their newborn well prior to delivery and treat those conditions during her term. Pinkeye presents with symptoms of eye discomfort, commonly relayed as feeling as if sand is in the eye. It can commonly cause the child to wake in the morning with a thick crust that seals the lids together resulting in the need of a warm towel to soften the mucus to be able to open the eye comfortably. Other common symptoms are sensitivity to light, itchiness, and excessive tearing. Pinkeye caused by bacteria or a virus are highly contagious and can be passed through touching an infected child, touching something an infected child has touched, coughing, and sneezing.
To prevent the spread of pink eye keep your child out of school or daycare until your doctor or Optometrist give the go ahead for them to return. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently and explain to them why it is so important. Washing hands while singing the happy birthday song twice to themselves is a good way to teach them correctly. Also, teach your children not to share personal care items with another student or child as well as if they are aware that another child is ill or has a case of pink eye. Do not use or touch anything belonging to that child until they have been given a clean bill of health. This is especially true in young contact lens wearers; your child should never try on another persons lenses or borrow their case or contact lens solutions. In your home, wash pillowcases regularly, especially anytime your child is ill as well as other bedding and linens. If your child has a case of the pink eye, separate their towels and washcloths items from the rest of the families and wash their items in hot water. If your child is at risks of coming down with pinkeye due to allergies, limit their pollen contact by keeping your child inside on heavy pollen days, keep your home closed up during them periods, dust and vacuum daily, and avoid subjecting your child to any other free radicals in the air such as cigarette smoke, smog, car exhaust, etc. If you suspect your child may have a case of the pinkeye or a school nurse has sent your child home, contact a qualified Optometrist to get treatment as needed for your child.
Alternative treatments for pinkeye in under developed countries include topical povidone-iodine (betadine) which is effective against most bacterial conjunctivitis at a fraction of the cost of standard antibiotic prescription eye drops. Povidone is sometimes used by optometrists to treat EKC, a special severe from of viral conjunctivitis. However, it does not appear to be a treatment for most viral forms of conjunctivitis. Homeopathic remedies include Similasan Pink Eye Relief eye drops. Similasan 2 Allergy Eye Drops have had one small study showing effectiveness and they do seem to work well for some patients with milder forms of allergic conjunctivitis. Any over the counter eye drop treatments should be used under medical supervision as some drops can induce angle closure glaucoma in susceptible patients. There have been cases where individuals have gone blind from self treating with over the counter eye drops. Chronic dry eyes can make you susceptible to recurring bouts of conjunctivitis. Treatment of dry eyes may be a very good preventative measure for chronic pinkeye