Conjunctivitis in Children – Understanding the Pinkeye Syndrome

Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. The condition can be alarming as it may make the eyes extremely red and can spread rapidly. However, it is a fairly common condition and usually produces no long-term eye or vision damage.

Important Step

If you observe symptoms of pinkeye in your child, it is important to see a doctor. Some types of pinkeye go away on their own, but others call for treatment.

Causes of Pinkeye

Pinkeye can be caused by bacteria and viruses responsible for colds and other infections such as ear infections, sinus infections, and sore throats. The condition may also be caused by same types of bacteria that leads to chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.

Pinkeye may also be caused by allergies. These cases occur more frequently among kids who have developed other allergic conditions, such as hay fever. Some of the most common triggers of allergic conjunctivitis include the following listed below:

  • Dust mites
  • Grass
  • Animal dander
  • Ragweed pollen

Sometimes a common substance in the environment may irritate the eyes and lead to pinkeye, such as chemicals or air pollutants.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

Different types of pinkeye can show different symptoms which usually vary from child to child. One of the most common symptoms of pinkeye is discomfort in the eye. Your child may say that he is feeling like there is sand in the eye.

Many kids show redness of the eye and inner eyelid. This is also the reason the disease is known as pinkeye. The condition may also lead to discharge from the eyes. The discharge is responsible for eyelids to stick together when the child wakes up in the morning. Some kids may even have swollen eyelids or feel sensitivity to bright light. The allergic conjunctivitis shows symptoms such as itchiness and tearing.


Bacteria and viruses caused Conjunctivitis are contagious whereas those caused by allergies or environmental irritants aren’t.


The doctor may suggest antibiotic eye drops or ointment. The drops need to be given several times in a day to avoid complications of illness.


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