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Pink Eye

ABC Children's Eye Specialists

Ophthalmologists & Optometrists located in Phoenix, AZ & Mesa, AZ

Pink eye is one of the most common eye problems, and if the cause is viral conjunctivitis, it’s very contagious. If your child has pink eye, be sure to schedule an appointment as soon as possible at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists in Phoenix or Mesa, Arizona. The team of expert pediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists identify the cause of pink eye, whether it’s a virus, bacteria, or allergies, and provide quick relief from symptoms. Call the office nearest you or use the online booking tool today to schedule an appointment.

Pink Eye Q & A

What is pink eye?

Pink eye, known medically as conjunctivitis, is a common eye condition that causes inflammation and swelling in your conjunctiva, the thin layer of tissue that lines your eyelids and the whites of your eyes. This inflammation causes the whites of your eyes to look pink or red because the blood vessels in your conjunctiva are swollen and visible.

Though there are several types and causes of pink eye, the most common is viral conjunctivitis, especially among children. Viral conjunctivitis is about as contagious as the common cold. Bacteria and allergies can cause similar conjunctivitis symptoms.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes. In addition to redness, these symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Increase in tear production
  • Irritation, itching, and/or burning
  • The feeling that something is stuck in your eye
  • Crust or discharge around eyelids

Most cases of conjunctivitis are mild, easily treatable, and don’t cause vision damage. Still, it’s a good idea to have the team at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists take a look if your child’s eyes become red and irritated, especially because they might have a contagious infection.

How is pink eye treated?

Treatment for pink eye depends in part on what’s causing it. Bacterial conjunctivitis responds to antibiotic eye drops, but if your child has viral conjunctivitis, you need to allow time for the virus to run its course. If they have allergic conjunctivitis, your child’s doctor helps them to avoid their allergy triggers and can prescribe anti-allergy eye drops.

You can help your child manage their pink eye symptoms with at-home care, including:

  • Carefully cleaning the edges of their eyes with warm water and gauze or cotton balls
  • Applying cool or warm compresses to soothe inflammation
  • Using over-the-counter eye drops labeled “lubricating” or “artificial tears”

This approach can significantly improve symptoms within a few days, though your child may remain contagious for longer.

How can I stop pink eye from spreading?

Though viral conjunctivitis is contagious, you and your child can take steps to stop the condition from spreading.

Your child’s ABC Children’s Eye Specialists doctor determines when they can go back to school or daycare. As a general rule, you’re no longer contagious when discharge and eye inflammation are no longer visible, which usually takes 3-7 days.

It’s understandable that your child wouldn’t be able to take that much time off. Even if your child has noticeable symptoms, good hygiene practices can stop the pink eye from spreading, including:

  • Making sure your child frequently washes their hands with soap and warm water
  • Reminding your child to avoid touching or rubbing their eyes
  • Not sharing your child’s towels or pillows and washing/changing them daily
  • If your child wears contacts, throwing out the pair they were wearing when they got pink eye

Schedule an appointment today for pink eye treatment at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists online or over the phone.