Pink eye of conjunctivitis is a prevalent condition that not only affects adults but also infants. It is important to note that pink eye typically affects infants from birth up to 6 years.
The condition involves infection of the conjunctiva which is the lining of the eyes and eyelids. The infection is usually due to a virus or bacteria but an allergic reaction might also be a trigger for adults. Newly born infants might acquire pink eye after picking up microorganism in the birth canal during delivery. In some cases, the infection can spread via direct contact with the germs after birth.
Redness of the eyes
The initial sign of infection is the reddened or pink discoloration of the white part or sclera of the eye. This is triggered by the inflammation of the small blood vessels on the eye surface.
The redness typically starts in only one eye, but often infects the other eye after 24-48 hours. The interior of the lids can also turn evidently red that can be seen by gently pulling the lower eyelid down towards the cheek of the child.
Mucus and drainage
Once the affected eye turns red, mucus can start to accumulate and eventually drainage occurs. Remember that this manifests initially in the corner of the eyes and later on covers the entire surface of the eye.
In most cases, the child wakes up in the morning with eyelids that are matted close with dried drainage. The color of the crust is usually yellowish or greenish. All you have to do is wipe away the dried crust using a moist towel or washcloth.
In severe cases of pink eye, the inflammation can intensify particularly on the lining of the eye and eyelids. This results to marked puffiness of the area around the eyes and the eyelids of the child. If severe swelling occurs, it might prevent the infant from opening his/her eyes.
Localized symptoms of pink eye
Always bear in mind that pink eye is an infection that is localized or isolated to the eyes alone. Other symptoms such as diminished level of energy, fever, changes in the eating pattern or other bodily reactions should not be present.
Once an infant has swollen and reddened eyes with drainage but with other accompanying symptoms, it is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible.