By: Dr. Amber Teten, Chesapeake Pediatric Eye Doctor
Eye infections in children are a common reason to see a pediatric eye doctor, and parents should be aware of their dangers. Eye infections can cause redness, irritation, and even vision problems if not treated properly. It’s essential to be aware of the symptoms and take steps to prevent these types of infections. Dr. Teten, a pediatric eye doctor, will discuss the dangers of eye infections in children and provide tips on how to avoid them.
For further discussion on the importance of having your child seen by a pediatric eye doctor, check-out Dr. Teten’s blog.
What are some common eye infections?
Eye infections are conditions in which the eyes become irritated, inflamed, and uncomfortable. Common types of eye infections include conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and keratitis. Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common eye condition that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva. This thin clear tissue lines the eye’s white part and the eyelid’s inside. Pink eye can be caused by various factors, including viral or bacterial infections, allergies, irritants, and even contact lens wear. In children, the most common cause of pink eye is a viral or bacterial infection, which can be spread through contact with infected eye discharge, contaminated surfaces, or other bodily fluids. Poor hand hygiene and close contact with infected individuals can also increase the risk of contracting pink eye.
Blepharitis is a common eye condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. It occurs when the tiny oil glands near the base of the eyelashes become clogged or irritated, leading to redness, swelling, and crusty debris around the eyelashes. In children, blepharitis can be caused by various factors, including bacterial or viral infections, allergies, and skin conditions such as eczema or seborrheic dermatitis. Poor hygiene, excessive eye rubbing, and using contact lenses or eye makeup can also contribute to developing blepharitis. If left untreated, blepharitis can lead to more serious eye problems, such as dry eye syndrome, styes, and even vision loss.
Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea, the clear outer covering of the eye. In children, keratitis can be caused by various factors, including bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, exposure to UV light, foreign bodies in the eye, and trauma. Children who wear contact lenses or have underlying medical conditions that weaken the immune system are also at an increased risk of developing keratitis. Symptoms of keratitis can include eye pain, redness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and discharge from the eye. If left untreated, keratitis can lead to corneal scarring and vision loss.
How does my child get an eye infection?
Child eye infections can occur when bacteria, viruses, or fungi enter the eye. Bacterial infections are most often spread through contact with contaminated objects or surfaces. In contrast, viral and fungal infections are usually spread through contact with infected bodily fluids. Common sources of infection include sharing eye makeup, swimming in contaminated water, and not properly cleaning contact lenses. Additionally, an infection can spread from the eyes to other parts of the body, such as the ears or nose, when kids touch their faces or scratch their eyes. It is important to note that some infections can be passed from mother to baby during childbirth.
To reduce the risk of your child developing an eye infection, make sure that they avoid touching their eyes with unclean hands and wear protective eyewear when playing contact sports or participating in any activity that could cause foreign material to enter their eyes. Additionally, please encourage your children to practice good hygiene by washing their hands regularly and avoiding sharing personal items with others. If you wear contacts, teach your child to follow proper contact lens care instructions to ensure their lenses remain clean and safe. Finally, ensure your child visits their pediatric eye doctor at Navigation Eye Care regularly to examine their eyes and check for any potential signs of infection.
What are the symptoms of an eye infection?
Regarding eye infections in children, several symptoms can indicate an infection. These may include redness and swelling of the eyes, excessive tearing, discharge from the eyes, irritation or itching, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, pain around the eyes, and crusty eyelids. Sometimes, a child may experience a fever or a general feeling of being unwell. Suppose your child is experiencing any of these symptoms. In that case, it is crucial to have them seen by a pediatric eye doctor immediately to ensure they receive proper treatment.
How to prevent eye infections?
Preventing eye infections in children is essential to keeping them healthy and safe. Here are a few tips to help protect your child from infection:
- Wash hands often: One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and infections is to ensure that your child’s hands are clean. Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating, after using the restroom, and after playing outside or with pets.
- Avoid touching eyes: Teach your child to avoid rubbing their eyes, even if they itch. Touching your eyes can introduce bacteria into the eye and cause infection.
- Wear safety goggles: If your child plays sports, encourage them to wear protective eyewear such as safety goggles. Protective eyewear will help protect their eyes from flying debris or other injuries that can lead to infection.
- Practice good hygiene: Keep your child’s eyes clean by wiping any discharge away with a warm washcloth or cotton ball. Also, ensure that your child’s bedding is clean and changed regularly.
- See a pediatric eye doctor regularly: Visiting an eye care center for regular checkups can help catch eye infections early and ensure your child is healthy overall.
For further discussion on how vision might affect your child’s learning ability in school, check out Dr. Teten’s blog.
So, if you have a child that has an eye infection, get their eyes checked out by a qualified pediatric eye doctor. We encourage you to call the Navigation Eye Care team at 757-529-6889 or schedule an appointment. We are equipped and prepared to care for you and your whole family. If you are looking for excellent service in a friendly manner, check us out. We highly recommend that you choose Navigation Eye Care when looking for a top eye doctor in Chesapeake. We will serve in Chesapeake for many years and can’t wait to see you and your family.