Children are no strangers to eye infections. And while eye infections are rarely serious in the United States, prompt treatment is important to minimize your child’s discomfort and to ease the spread of an infectious disease.
Smita Tandon, MD, at Dr 2 Kids in Fountain Valley, California, can quickly diagnose and treat your child’s eye problem, whether it’s pink eye or another issue.
Many of the viruses and bacteria that cause colds, flus, and ear infections, are the same pathogens that cause many eye infections. When viruses and bacteria can come in contact with the surface or the inside of the eye, an infection can result.
Pink eye — medically known as conjunctivitis — is the most common eye infection for children. This infection affects the inside of the eyelids and the thin layer that covers the white part of the eye. As many as six million Americans get conjunctivitis every year.
Keratitis has symptoms that look very similar to pink eye, and it can be equally as uncomfortable or painful. However, the cause of keratitis is inflammation of the cornea. Keratitis affects about 70,000 Americans annually.
Despite its relative rarity, keratitis has a greater potential to impact your child’s vision, since the cornea is more central to the sight functions of the eye. Keratitis is also typically more painful than common pink eye.
Trachoma — which can cause scar tissue or ulcers to form on the surface of the eye, is a potentially dangerous infection that’s the leading cause of blindness in some parts of the world, but it’s usually not an issue in the United States.
Endophthalmitis is an infection of the inside of the eye, and it can result due to an injury that penetrates the eye. This type of infection is rare in children.
Styes are a common symptom of pink eye, and they look like pimples or boils. They can be painful, and you may be tempted to lance the sty to relieve pressure. However, this may lead to a serious infection called orbital cellulitis, which can cause blindness or meningitis and may even be fatal if left untreated. Infections can also lead to corneal ulcers, which can cause vision loss without treatment.
While the chances are high that your child has a simple infection that will resolve itself in about a week, there are rare cases when ignoring eye infections can lead to further health problems. If your child has a red, itchy eye that feels gritty or has a discharge that forms a crust while they sleep, it’s time to contact Dr 2 Kids for an examination to make sure the infection isn’t serious.
Book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr 2 Kids today to make sure your child receives prompt care.