Prevent Eye Infections In Children - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India
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Prevent Eye Infections In Children

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 16 Aug 2014 - 17:52.

Almost all infants are acquainted with eye infections. In some rare cases children exhibit eye infections right from birth. Here is a low down on some possible eye infections your child may be susceptible to:

Possible infections in children:

If you are suspecting that your baby has a red eye or developing a red eye watch for the following features to understand the nature of infection and the extent of involvement.

  1. If your baby’s eyes are swollen and produce a thick yellow discharge causing the lids to get stuck the possible cause could be a bacterial infection with staphylococcus, streptococcus or hemophilus. Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most common condition affecting the infant’s eyes.
  2. If the baby’s eyes produce a watery discharge coupled with a red swollen throat and enlarged lymph nodes in front of the ears, you can reasonably conclude that your child has viral conjunctivitis.
  3. Should your baby exhibit sticky and swollen eyes as well as watery discharge and the eyes are bloodshot coupled with the presence of runny nose, chances are that the child has an allergic reaction to an irritant such as dust, pollen or smoke. However, it should be remembered that children below one year rarely exhibit allergic reactions. It should also be remembered that an allergic reaction doesn’t stem from an infection but could become one if your baby is continuously exposed to allergens or irritants.
  4. Conjunctivitis: If you find that one or both eye lids of your baby turn pink with crusts over the lids, the chances are that your infant has conjunctivitis or red eye or pink eye. The eye balls and the inside of the eye lids are covered by a thin transparent membrane called conjunctiva. This membrane gets inflamed due to bacteria, virus or some allergic reaction. As infection sets in, the baby’s immune system tries to fight with the invading organisms and leads to the formation of crust.

If your baby is less than 2 weeks and develops conjunctivitis, chances are that the infection has traveled to the eyes from the bacteria living in the birth canal during delivery of the baby. This is a serious form of conjunctivitis and needs immediate action and prompt treatment by the doctor. Normally the baby receives prophylactic antibiotic eye drops immediately after birth. However, if your baby has missed this and the eyes get infected she/he would need treatment right away to prevent damage to her vision.


If it turns out that bacterial infection is the culprit, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops for using it three to four times for about one week.

You may find it is easier to apply an antibiotic eye ointment. In that case thoroughly wash your hands and squeeze a small amount of the ointment to the edge of your clean finger and gently rub it along the baby’s lower eye lid. The ointment will get into the eyes when the baby blinks the eyes.

Doctor’s Advice:

  • Don’t forget to wash your hands after applying the ointment to avoid infecting someone else’s eyes. Never ever share the ointment for someone else’s eyes, nor apply from a previously opened tube, into your baby’s eyes. Since the tubes are not sterile it could make the infection worse if you don’t follow these simple rules.
  • Your doctor will also advise you to gently bathe the baby’s eyes with a vies to dissolving the hard crust formations to avoid ineffectiveness of the antibiotic. Even if there is improvement in a couple of days you must complete the full course of treatment to avoid re-infection. When your baby has completed 48 hour duration of treatment you can rest assured that she will not be contagious to others and the baby can safely return to daycare and also play with other children.
  • Viral conjunctivitis usually clears up in 2 weeks. You should however keep the eyes clean by gently washing the eyes with warm water and rubbing away the dried discharge. A viral infect remains contagious until all the symptoms clear up.
  • Once your baby has conjunctivitis whether bacterial or viral, it becomes your responsibility to avoid transmitting the condition to others as well as those with in the house. It is therefore essential for you to wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching the baby’s eyes either for washing or applying ointment or drops .Never allow others to use the linen, clothing, bedding and always keep these items exclusively for use by the affected child. Don’t allow any of her playthings to be used by other kids.
  • Nothing will help you except detecting the possible allergen, should your child suffer from allergic conjunctivitis. This can be done only by trial and error and also by avoiding exposure to the known allergens. However, you should always try to keep the eyes clean and wash them gently with warm water.
  • About 20 percent of all infants are born with one or both of their tear ducts blocked. This can cause conjunctivitis due to infection when the tears backflow to the eyes because of partial or total block in the tear ducts. Normally with patent tear ducts the tears flow into the nose through the tiny opening in the inside corner of the eye. Trouble starts only when they are blocked.
  • In majority of cases it needs about 6 months for the tear ducts to be fully potent. In case they are blocked before this period you may gently squeeze the lids with an upward pressure and also apply lukewarm compresses.
  • If the block doesn’t clear even after 6 months your doctor will advise a simple outdoor procedure to probe into the ducts and make them patent. However, doctors prefer to do a surgery under general anesthesia, only when the child is at least one year old.

Awareness about various possible infections, can help you protect the child from such eye infections.

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.