How to Identify and Treat Children's Eye Infections

Eye infections are widespread among children, especially in public areas such as schools, daycares or places where children play together. Since children think nothing of contact, they are often in proximity to one another, which makes it easy for children’s eye infections to spread.

Nearly one in eight children get eye infections annually, including conjunctivitis (pink eye), orbital cellulitis, bacterial and viral infections and infections from foreign objects. If your child experiences symptoms of an eye infection, contact an eye doctor in Northwest Florida for an exam and treatment.

Symptoms of Children’s Eye Infections

Pediatric eye infections are similar to colds, flus, ear infections, sore throats and sinus infections because they stem from the same bacteria or viruses. Therefore, the symptoms are the same. There are several ways to tell if your child has an eye infection.

  • Discharge that is green, yellow or bloody
  • Eyelids that are stuck together after waking from sleep
  • Red eyes or eyelids
  • Feeling that something is stuck in the eye
  • Eye pain
  • A white or gray sore on the iris
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Sudden blurry vision
  • Fever with no other cause

Types of Eye Infections

Types of eye infections include bacterial and viral conjunctivitis, blockages, infections from foreign objects and orbital cellulitis. Symptoms and treatment vary depending on the type of infection.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is an infection of the eye's mucous membrane called the conjunctiva. This membrane lines the interior of the eyelids and covers the outer surface of the eye. Bacterial conjunctivitis extends from the back surface of the eyelids into the fornices and onto the conjunctiva, where it connects to the cornea. Symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis include

  • Swollen eyelids
  • Pink or red eyes
  • Yellow or green discharge
  • Eyelids stuck together

Viral Conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is a highly contagious infection caused by a virus. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis include

  • Infection in both eyes
  • Pink and watery eyes
  • Itchiness
  • Fever, sore throat or runny nose

Blocked Tear Duct

When you have a blocked tear duct, your tears can't drain, leaving you with a watery, irritated eye. The condition is caused by a partial or complete obstruction in the tear drainage system. Symptoms of blockage include

  • Chronic tears
  • Irritation
  • Watery eyes
  • Redness and swelling
  • Discharge

Infection from Foreign Objects

Foreign objects such as sand, dust, or dirt can get into your child’s eye, causing infection. Foreign particles are trapped under the upper eyelid and infect the eye. Symptoms of infection include

  • Feeling like something is in the eye
  • Redness
  • Irritation or pain
  • Discharge
  • Visible presence of the object

Orbital Cellulitis

Orbital cellulitis is an infection of the eyelid and area around the eye. The infection spreads inward due to eye trauma or an upper respiratory infection. Symptoms of orbital cellulitis include

  • Redness and swelling
  • Irritation and pain
  • Fever
  • Reduced vision
  • Inability to move the eye

Schedule an Eye Exam Today

Contact the Gulf Coast Vision Center at one of our Pace, Milton or Crestview locations or at one of our Pensacola locations at Nine Mile or at East Hill to schedule a comprehensive eye exam today.