Pink Eyes: A Common Problem in Children

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This week’s blog on Pink Eyes: A Common Problem in Children has been contributed by Dr. Syed Ali, Consultant, Paediatric Ophthalmic Surgeon

Acute conjunctivitis or commonly pink eye is the infection of the superficial lining over the white part of the eye. It’s common in children to have occasional pink eye.

What are some of the symptoms parents should notice?

  • Redness over the white of the eye which can be mild to very severe
  • Pus like discharge from the eye
  • Eyes are usually sticky and crusty in the morning or after sleep
  • Mild lid swelling
  • Mild discomfort or irritation but no pain

What causes pink eye?

  • It is an infection caused by bacteria or virus
  • Common after sore throat and which case it is viral
  • Highly contagious and children can get from other students in nursery or school
  • Another common cause is children rubbing their eyes with dirty hands


  • Washing hands
  • Avoid contact with infected person
  • Washing eyes (lid hygiene)
  • Avoid swimming with pink eye

What is the treatment?

  • It is important to first get the correct diagnosis
  • Usual treatment is with antibiotic eye drops

Why it’s important to see the eye doctor?

There are lots of condition which can mimic pink eye, like inflammation of the white of the eye or front part of the eye, dry eyes, inflammation of the lid margins, blocked tear ductany scratch, injury to the eye or allergy in the eye. So, it’s very important to see an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) to properly diagnose the condition and to get treatment on time.

If the child is suffering from pink eye, it is advisable not to send child to school and don’t share towel and pillow with other family members.