External Eye Diseases

There are a number of external eye infections. Some of the infections tend to recur frequently, are more contagious and require antibiotic treatment. Eye infections are a common childhood malady, but in most cases, the infection is mild and easy to overcome.

Conjunctivitis is a commonly found eye infection. The conjunctiva is a transparent membrane which covers the eye’s outer side. Common symptoms include redness, mucus, sticky eyes, and itchiness.

Sometimes, children may present with a slight fever or throat ache. Conjunctivitis does not affect a child’s sight. The cause of the infection may be a virus, bacterial infection, or allergic reaction. The ophthalmologist will check for enlarged lymph nodes, corneal involvement and other possible complications. The ophthalmologist will also be able to determine what caused the infection, and if needed, he will take a culture to send to the laboratory for further analysis.

Treatment of conjunctivitis
Treatment is administered based on the diagnosis. It generally includes eye drops (to contract the blood vessels), antibiotic medication and, in cases of an allergic reaction, antihistamines. Steroids may be prescribed in more severe cases. Warm compresses can ease the itchiness and discomfort.

Important! A viral infection can last for a few weeks, and is highly contagious. Kissing is the most common way the disease is spread. It is important to set aside special sheets, towels and pillows for your child. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently.

A stye is an infection of the eyelid. The infection develops as a result of a blocked gland on the eyelid and discharges the fatty component of tears. Symptoms include local pain, local redness and swelling (generally in the shape of a small marble).

Treatment of Styes
Place warm compresses on the stye to reduce the swelling. We also recommend antibiotic cream administered locally for a few days. Swelling will go down gradually, sometimes taking a few weeks to go down completely. If the swelling does not go down, make an appointment with your ophthalmologist who will refer you for a small procedure.