Causes – Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the inner eyelid (conjunctiva). It may be caused by environmental irritants, allergies or infections.  Infections can be either viral or bacterial.

Symptoms – Your child may experience itching, redness, watering, or drainage of one or both eyes. Following sleep, the eyelids may stick together.

Transmission – Children rub their itchy eyes, collect the drainage, and spread conjunctivitis to others. Schools and day care centers will not permit children to attend with conjunctivitis unless they are being treated with antibiotics. Viral conjunctivitis usually lasts 3-7 days.


  • Cleanse the eyes with a warm damp washcloth or cotton balls.
  • Use a soothing eye drop such as Tearsol.
  • Use antibiotic eye drops if only indicated and useful for bacterial conjunctivitis.  This can sometimes be difficult to differentiate, but usually there will be thick, pus-like discharge in a bacterial conjunctivitis.  These drops are available by prescription only.  You can call our nursing line or make an appointment to discuss if these drops may be appropriate

Prevention – Keeping the hands washed, eyes wiped clean, and using antibiotic eye drops (when indicated) will help prevent spread.

When to Schedule an Appointment:

  • Your child is under one year old
  • High fever
  • Significant eye swelling
  • Complaints of pain, decreased vision, or unusual sensitivity to light

If you think your child may have pink eye, connect with one of our nurses on the Telemedicine Nurse Triage line for advice and/or treatment options

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*Edited by Dr. Joey Mechak on 5/6/21