The Dreaded Pink Eye: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Pink eye. Otherwise known as Conjunctivitis. Which, as many mamas know, is inevitable. Especially if your kid is in daycare. Well, I mean I know that now.  I didn’t go into mother-hood with the understanding of this little factoid. Most of us don’t need in in-depth description of what pink-eye is. In layman’s terms, it’s a pink eye full of puss. Two eyes if you’re extra lucky.

Full on jargon describes it as, an inflammation of the conjunctiva. That thin clear layer of membrane that spans over the white part of our eyes and inner eyelids gets aggravated and by way of either a viral or bacterial infection.

Discover the difference between viral and bacterial pink-eye, the causes, symptoms, preventative measures, and treatments associated with both.

Above all else – take your kid to the doctor to get things checked upon first sign of the symptoms! Because it’s always best to consult with your doctor!

  • What You Might Not Know… 1 of 22
    Pink Eye: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Toddlers

    While pink eye may be alarming to discover in your little ones, it is quite common for babies and toddlers to get. While it usually goes away on it's own, some forms of pink eye need antibiotics or homeopathic treatment. Take your child to your doctor and familiarize yourself with the causes, symptoms, prevention and treatments of conjunctivitis.

    Kids Health Org
    Mayo Clinic

  • Causes 2 of 22
    The Causes of Pink Eye

    Click through to discover the causes of conjunctivitis.

  • Viruses 3 of 22
    Viral Pink Eye

    Pink eye can come from many different types of viral infections such as; colds, ear and sinus infections, sore throats, etc. Look for a watery discharge. Highly contagious.

    Source: WebMD

  • Bacteria 4 of 22
    Bacterial Pink Eye

    In common to viral pink eye, the bacteria associated with colds, ear and sinus infections, sore throats, etc., are leading causes of contracting conjunctivitis. Bacterial pink eye is more common in children than it is in adults. (Mayo Clinic.)  Bacterial pink eye can also be contracted by the same types of bacteria that causes sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, also or STIs). (Kids Health Org.) Look for a green, pus-like discharge. Also very contagious. 

  • Allergies 5 of 22
    Pink Eye From Allergies

    Children who are more prone to allergies and having allergic reactions will contract pink eye through irritants such as dust, pollen, ragweed, grass, animal dander, hay-fever and animal dander. Some cases even show an allergic reaction to contact lenses. (Not that your toddler is wearing those!)

    Source 1: WebMD
    Source 2: Kids Health Org
    Source 3: Mayo Clinic

  • Environmental & Chemical Irritants 6 of 22
    Environmental & Chemical Irritants Causing Pink Eye

    A sensitivity or allergic reaction to shampoo, soap, dirt, chlorine and other air pollutants can all be the cause of your little one getting pink eye.

    Source: WebMD

  • Newborn FYI 7 of 22
    Pink Eye in Newborns

    Pink eye in newborn babies should always be reported to a doctor immediately. (Source: WebMD)

    As we know, newborns are more susceptible to the dangers of everything. A newborn with pink eye which goes untreated can face much more serious health conditions. A newborn's blocked tear ducts (lacrimal duct stenosis) can give the impression of pink eye, but usually clears up on it's own.

    Source: Kids Health Org

  • Symptoms 8 of 22
    The Symptoms of Pink Eye

    Click through to discover the symptoms of conjunctivitis.

  • First Signs 9 of 22
    Red, Teary, Watery Eyes

    Be on the look-out for red, teary, watery eye(s). You might not be sure upon the first signs of your child's eyes getting watery - but when they wake up with crusty lashes and gluey eyes, it's likely pink-eye. However, the question remains as to what kind it is. That's where your health care profesional comes in, as there are different treatments for the different types of pink eye.

    Source 1: WebMD
    Source 2: Kids Health Org
    Source 3: Mayo Clinic

  • Irritants 10 of 22
    Irritations Associated With Pink Eye

    Your child may complain of and show the visible signs of having itchy, burning, scratchy eyes and complain of a gritty, generally uncomfortable feeling.

    Source 1: Kids Health Org
    Source 2: Mayo Clinic

  • Progression 11 of 22
    Symptoms of Pink Eye

    The crusty eyes and green / white discharge that we all dread. Word to the wise. Don't google pink eye. Just don't. *Deep Shudder*

    Source: Mayo Clinic

  • Blurred Vision & Sensitivity To Light 12 of 22
    The Symptoms of Pink Eye

    An increased sensitivity to bright light and blurry vision are a couple more sure-fire signs that your kid has pink-eye.

    Source 1: Kids Health Org
    Source 2: Mayo Clinic

  • Contagiousness 13 of 22
    How Contagious Is Pink Eye?

    Just how contagious is it? Basically, all forms of viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are contagious while infections caused by irritants and allergies aren't. There's no way to tell what's what until a professional checks it out, so. Pink eye can cause inflammation in the cornea wich can thus affect your child's vision. Prompt evaluation and treatment can reduce the risk of such complications.

    Source: Kids Health Org

  • Prevention 14 of 22
    How To Prevent Pink Eye

    Click through to discover how you can help prevent contracting and/or spreading the infection of pink eye.

  • No Sharing, No Touching 15 of 22
    Preventing Pink Eye

    I mean, this goes without saying right? Try to keep your toddler from rubbing their eyes - as they can spread the infection into both. I know. Seemingly impossible to avoid. Upon the first signs of pink-eye, you're going to jave to keep them home if they are in daycare. Even if your child's pink-eye isn't contagious, they just don't want the threat of it around. No sharing of washcloths, pillows, towels, etc. (Basically anything their eyes come into contact with.)

    Source 1: WebMD
    Source 2: Kids Health Org
    Source 3: Mayo Clinic

  • Studious Care To Good Hygiene 16 of 22
    Preventing The Spread of Pink Eye

    Teaching your young child about practicing good hygiene is always important, especially in this case. Constant hand-washing (you too!) and washing their laundry (especially those warm wash-cloths you use on their eyes), separately from the rest of the family's is very important.

    Source: Kids Health Org

  • Prone To Conjunctivius From Allergies? 17 of 22
    Pink Eye From Allergies

    Keep windows and doors closed when it's really windy and/or pollen heavy outside. Vacuum and dust regularly. Joy.

    Source: WebMD

  • Prevention of Pink Eye in Newborns 18 of 22
    Preventing & Caring For Pink Eye In Newborns

    Screening and treatment (if needed) of pregnant women for STDs/STIs is really important, as it's a great way to detect conjunctivitis in an unborn baby and have it treated before it becomes a threat.

    Source 1: WebMD

    Source 2: Kids Health Org

    Source 3: Mayo Clinic

  • Treatments 19 of 22
    Treatments For Pink Eye

    Click through to learn about the different forms of treatment available over the counter; or that you can expect a health-care professional to prescribe.


  • Viral 20 of 22
    Viral Pink Eye

    Pink-eye usually goes away without the need of antibiotics. Warm washcloths and lots of TLC go a long way. Anti-viral medications may be prescribed by your doctor if the infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus. (Newborns.)

    Source 1: Mayo Clinic
    Source 2: Kids Health Org

  • Bacterial 21 of 22
    Bacterial Pink Eye

    Expect the prescription of antibacterial eye drops, pills or ointment, although ointments is always easiest to administer on a toddler. (Just speaking from past experiences.) Always follow the instructions of dose and application as instructed by your doctor/health-care professional.

    Source: WebMD

  • Allergy Related 22 of 22
    Allergy Related Pink Eye

    Anti-allergy medication and other homeopathic treatments are favoured when it comes to pink eye caused by allergens. They usually comes in the form of pills, liquid, or eye drops. Also avoid irritants such as heavy pollen days outside and keeping the home as dust free as possible.

    Source: WebMD


Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Regular writer here and on Disney Baby. Part-time mischief maker, all the time geek. Proud of her Anishinaabe roots.

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