Eye Infections in Kids

Pink eye isn’t the only eye problem found in babies and children that parents should be aware of, a CHOC Children’s infectious disease specialist says. eye infections

Here are some other eye issues that Dr. Negar Ashouri recommends parents keep on their radars:

  • A stye (or sty): This is a small, painful lump, usually found on the inside or outside of the eyelid. It’s an occlusion of the glands around the eye and can become infected but does not affect vision. Applying a warm compress to the eye a few times daily will help it drain and heal. Eye drops can help if it’s infected.
  • Blocked tear duct: Infants’ tear ducts can sometimes get blocked, making the inner eye close to the nasal bridge appear swollen. This typically can happen in the first few weeks of life and does not affect vision. A parent or caregiver can massage the area to help open the duct, and often it will open on its own. If not, eye drops will help.
  • Herpes infections in or around the eye: Children can get a herpes viral infection of the eye. This occurs after close contact with someone who has a cold sore (i.e. kisses) or from autoinoculation from HSV in the mouth. After the primary infection, it can also reactivate at a later time.

If parents notice small red bumps or blisters on the skin around the child’s eye and also redness in the eye, call a medical professional.

“You do need to seek medical care for this because the child can be put on anti-viral medication,” Dr. Ashouri says. “This is a dangerous problem because it can lead to blindness.”

Dr. Ashouri says it’s important to call the doctor or seek medical help for any of these problems or an eye infection if these symptoms are accompanied by visual changes or the eye becomes very red.

Learn more about infectious disease services at CHOC.

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Tips to Protect Your Child from Eye Injuries

Bet you didn’t know October is Eye Injury Prevention Month? While most children’s eye injuries are minor, others, like those that often occur in sports and recreational activities, can be serious and require medical attention.

Check out the following tips to protect children’s eyes from injury:
• Keep all chemicals and sprays out of reach of small children.
• Only purchase age-appropriate toys.
• Avoid projectile toys such as darts.
• Along with sports equipment, provide your children with the appropriate protective eyewear.
• Ensure there are no sharp corners on the edges of furnishings and home fixtures.
• Provide appropriate lights and handrails to improve safety on stairs in the home.
• Beware of items in playgrounds that pose potential eye hazards.
• Remind your children not to play or run with sharp objects such as scissors, a fork or pencil.

Should your child suffer an eye injury, keep these guidelines in mind.

If you think your child has small debris in the eye or a minor irritation, be sure to:
• Wash your hands thoroughly before touching the eye area.
• Tilt the child’s head over a basin or sink with the affected eye pointed down.
• Gently pull down the lower lid.
• Gently pour a steady stream of lukewarm water over the eye.
• Flush the eye for up to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes to see if the foreign body has been flushed out.

Seek medical care if your child has:
(Even if the injury seems minor at first, as a serious injury is not always immediately obvious)
• been struck or poked in the eye with a ball or other object
• a swollen, red, or painful area around the eye or eyelid
• an eye that’s very sensitive to light

Seek emergency medical care if your child has:
• trouble seeing
• been exposed to chemicals
• something embedded in the eye
• severe eye pain
• blood in the eye
• nausea or vomiting after an eye injury

While seeking medical help, remind your child not to rub his or her eyes. A cut or puncture wound should be gently covered. Do not apply ointment or medication to the eye.

More articles about protecting children’s eyes and vision:

  • Eye Infections in Kids
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  • Protect Your Child’s Vision
    An eye injury can occur at any time, in any place. Adequate prevention is important because most eye injuries can be prevented. Almost half of all eye injuries occur in sports ...