A common eye condition in babies where there is an inflammation in the conjunctiva is called pink eye or Conjunctivitis. Pink eyes can occur in one eye or both eyes. There are four types of conjunctivitis and are divided into contagious or non-contagious.
Contagious Types of Conjunctivitis
Bacterial conjunctivitis is contagious for it is similar to causes of staph infection which acquires a bacteria that causes disease. It can be transmissible by having contact with an infected person and touching contaminated objects.
Viral conjunctivitis is sometimes called an eye cold because it is very contagious. The virus can be manifested in other mucous membranes and other places which can spread easily.
Non-contagious Types of Conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when there is exposure to an allergen such as dust, pollen, and mold. It is not contagious and can only occur when babies are exposed to the allergens that they are sensitive to. Being sensitive to the allergen can trigger conjunctivitis-like and allergy-related symptoms.
Irritant conjunctivitis occurs when irritants trigger the reaction in the eye. Smoke from fire or chlorine from water are examples of irritants that can result in pink or red eyes. Irritant pink eyes can be prevented when you avoid exposure of babies to irritants.
Conjunctivitis in Newborns
Newborns are vulnerable to different contagious forms of pink eyes. Neonatal conjunctivitis is possible on natural delivery because the bacteria or virus present in the birth canal can be transmitted to the baby’s eyes which is the main reason why the application of eye drops to baby’s eyes are administered after birth.
Identification of Conjunctivitis
There are universal symptoms of conjunctivitis. The following symptoms are commonly associated with the viral and bacterial pink eye:
- Watery eyes
- White, yellow, or green discharge in the baby’s eyes while they sleep
- Sensitivity to light
- Puffy or swollen eyelids
Treatment for Conjunctivitis in Babies
The treatment depends on the type of pink eye that your baby has. It is important to keep the eyes of the baby clean as always. Bacterial pink eye is treated with a prescription of antibiotic eye drops or treatments. Viral pink eye is not treated by an antibiotic instead you allow it to run its course. Natural remedies can help alleviate symptoms such as a cold compress that reduces swelling.
Allergic pink eye is treated by first identifying the allergens that caused the reaction. Oral antihistamine or eye drops can be prescribed depending on the severity. Irritant pink eye is treated by flushing the irritant from the eye. It is done by rinsing with a sterile saline solution to the baby’s eyes. Do not use tap water to rinse the baby’s eyes to avoid serious eye infections such as Acanthamoeba keratitis.