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It can be difficult to differentiate between different eye problems in adults, so knowing what is going on with your child’s eye health can be even harder. Even though the root cause of the issue is very different, allergies and certain eye infections have similar symptoms, making it easy to confuse the illnesses with each other. The main reason this occurs is that allergies and certain eye infections are both a type of conjunctivitis.
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Conjunctivitis is caused by the conjunctiva (an outer mucous membrane which lines the inner side of the eyelids and covers the front of the eye) inflaming. The cause of both kinds of eye problem is how they come into existence. A virus or bacteria are the normal causes of an eye infection, whereas an allergy is triggered by a number of irritants, such as pet hair or plant pollen, and is usually seasonal.
These aren’t the only causes of red or watery eyes, but they are among the more common origins. There are a number of types of conjunctivitis and understanding the different types is the first step to understanding whether your child is suffering from an allergy or an eye infection. Once you have a better understanding, you can get your child the treatment that they need.
Common signs of an allergic in the eye include red, watery eyes that feel irritated, itchy and sore. Some people even mention a burning sensation or a gritty feeling in their eyes. This can lead to swelling of the eye. Other symptoms that may be displayed include a runny nose and sneezing. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious, and you can purchase hay fever watery eyes treatment to help ease the symptoms of an allergy.
However, getting your child to an optical specialist is highly advised. An eye surgeon will be able to take a closer look at the eye and will be able to confirm whether your child is suffering from an allergy or whether they have some other kind of issue that requires further, more intense watery eyes treatment.
Some allergies can be more severe than others and require prescribed medication, an allergy injection or steroids, which is another reason you should visit your doctor. You should be able to find a professional who can help in your local area. If you’re in London for example, there’s Saurabh Jain who is an adult and paediatric ophthalmologist. With someone like this, you could book yourself in for a check up too if your child feels nervous about the appointment.
Pink eye is the common name for both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis. The symptoms of both kinds of pink eye are different from each other and both of these symptoms are different from the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis is less common than viral conjunctivitis.
The signs of bacterial pink eye include a crusty discharge from the eye, which is usually green or yellow in colour. Your child’s eyelids may get stuck together and the whites of the eye may display redness (usually present in one eye but can be in both). The eyes don’t usually feel itchy.
Antibiotic treatment, in the form of eye drops or ointment, is required for the treatment of bacterial pink eye. This medication will need to be prescribed by a doctor. Bacterial conjunctivitis is contagious, so make sure you wash your hands after checking or applying treatment and don’t share certain materials (such as towels) with your child.
Viral conjunctivitis is the most common form of pink eye. Once this has been contracted, it can be very tricky to stop it in its tracks and it usually spreads fast. It can be as contagious as a cold and is passed on in a similar way too. This means viral pink eye can be caught via contact with the infected individual and by touching infected surfaces, then touching your eye. Viral conjunctivitis is usually triggered or comes alongside a cold.
Symptoms of this form of pink eye include red eyes and the discharge you may experience is usually watery rather than crusty. It is normal for viral pink eye to clear up on its own because there is no treatment available. You can get watery eyes treatment to help ease the discomfort that comes with this infection, but you should still visit a health specialist so they can confirm what your child is actually suffering from.
Mechanical Irritation Conjunctivitis
This type of conjunctivitis isn’t an infection; it’s more of an irritated form of the illness. Since the term conjunctivitis stands for the inflammation of the conjunctiva when you get something in your eye that causes irritation of that membrane. This means it can cause similar problems to the three types of conjunctivitis mentioned above.
The symptoms include redness and watery eyes and tend to be similar to that of allergic conjunctivitis. Getting the irritant out as quickly and safely as you can is the remedy required for this variation.
Now you understand their differences between the different types of conjunctivitis, you can get out there and get the right treatment for your child. Remember to always seek advice from a medical professional before self-treating your child. If symptoms don’t begin to clear up after you treat your child for the designated time frame, then you need to visit a children’s eye specialist as soon as you can.