What is a conjunctivitis?
It is the most frequent inflammation of the eyes of children. It affects the membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner face of the eyelids. It may be unilateral or bilateral.
What is the cause?
It can be from infections. 50 to 80% are due to bacteria and the rest to viruses. The most frequent is the adenovirus. They may also be allergic (pollen, dust mites, animal epithelium). Others are irritating (by a foreign body in the eye) or chemical (by chemicals).
Adenoviruses are viruses that can infect the membranes of the eyes, respiratory tract, intestines and urinary tract.
How is it spread?
They are very contagious. They spread in day care centers, schools, through pool water, sharing contaminated objects such as towels, toys … It is often seen in the form of school outbreaks. It usually spreads more in early summer, and affects older children more. It has an incubation period (without symptoms) from two days to two weeks.
What eye diseases does it cause?
– Conjunctivitis: eyes become red, have watery secretions, tear and notice a foreign body sensation in the eye. Eyelids stick to each other. Sometimes secretions can cause blurred vision. Pain is rare.
– Faringoadenoconjunctival fever: affects conjunctiva and respiratory tract. In addition to the above there is mild fever, sore throat, nasal mucus …
– Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis: more serious and very contagious. It affects the conjunctiva and the cornea (central part of the eye). There is photophobia, blurred vision and eye pain.
Adenovirus conjunctivitis can last from one to two weeks and keratoconjunctivitis lasts for several weeks.
How is it diagnosed?
Symptoms and physical examination. It is not necessary to analyze the secretion of the infected eye.
In bacterial conjunctivitis secretions are mucopurulent whereas in allergic conjunctivitis both eyes are affected. It is related to some allergen. The eye itches and may also have symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
How to treat it?
There is no specific treatment. The secretions and scabs must be cleaned with a gauze dipped in warm water. Then the eyes are washed with saline, so that the excess liquid drains towards the ear of the same side. Lubricating ointments may be used to relieve ocular discomfort.
If bacterial overinfection is treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments. To administer the eye drops gently pull the lower eyelid down and put a drop or a little ointment into the space that forms between the eyelid and the eye.
Another way is to have your child lie down with his face up and both eyes closed. Put a drop on the inner corner of each eye. And then, separate the two eyelids or tell him to open and close his eyes. The drops are put every 3 hours. The ointment three times a day.
How to prevent it?
Infected children should stay home for 14 days. It is the approximate duration of virus removal. They should wash their hands and face frequently, keeping the shared surfaces clean.
Hey you avoid the intimate contact with the sick of conjunctivitis.
When to go to the pediatrician?
If the eye and eyelid become red, swollen or painful, or if there is severe eye pain or blurred vision.