Eric Brown, O.D.September is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. As kids go back to school, pink eye can spread easily.

Pink eye is the common name for conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the membrane that lines the eyelids and whites of the eyes. This membrane is called the conjunctiva. Infection with a virus is the most common cause of pink eye, but it can also be caused by bacteria or allergies. Learn more about pink eye causes, symptoms and treatment.

I think my child has pink eye. What do I do?

First, call your pediatrician or eye doctor. Pink eye is common, especially in children, but other eye conditions can cause similar symptoms. If your child wears contacts, he or she could have another, more serious condition. If you need an eye doctor, you are always welcome to call Oregon Eye Specialists at 503-935-5580.

If my child has pink eye, will I get it?

Pink eye is highly contagious, so family members and others are at risk. Learn how to keep pink eye from spreading.

How is pink eye treated?

The most common type of pink eye, caused by a virus, is treated by making your child as comfortable as possible. Just like the common cold, the virus goes away by itself in a week or two.

Pink eye caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotic eye drops. Your child needs to see a doctor to make sure the infection is caused by bacteria, because antibiotics will not help a viral infection.

Warm compresses and over-the-counter eye drops can make your child more comfortable. Ask your child’s eye doctor or pediatrician about the right drops.

To make a warm compress:

  • Soak a clean washcloth in warm water and wring it out.
  • Place it on your child’s affected eye for several minutes.
  • Use a fresh washcloth every time, and don’t let anyone else use the cloth. If only one eye is infected, don’t let the washcloth touch the other eye, and wash your hands well after helping your child.

How is pink eye diagnosed?

An eye doctor or pediatrician can diagnose pink eye. Call your child’s doctor if you think your child has pink eye.

Should my child see an eye doctor for pink eye?

That depends on the symptoms and other factors. A doctor can tell you if you should bring your child in.

If you’re concerned about pink eye or any other eye problem, please feel free to call Oregon Eye Specialists at 503-935-5580. Each of our 10 clinics has doctors who are experienced at treating children.

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