When Eyes are Red, Itchy, and Runny…

If your child’s eyes are red, itchy, and runny, it’s probably “pink eye.” Parents who have children with suspected pink eye inevitably get a phone call from a school nurse or daycare worker requesting their child be removed from school and taken to the doctor. Commonly, schools and daycares will not allow a child with pink eye symptoms to return until the child has been treated with medication for at least 24 hours.
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. Most episodes of pink eye are due to viruses that cause a mild infection. Pink eye can also be caused by other germs (such as bacteria or fungi) or by allergens such as pollen or dust.
Some of the most common symptoms of pink eye include:

  •  Redness and burning of the eyes
  • Watery or yellowish discharge from the eyes
  • Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
  • Swelling or tenderness of areas around the eyes

Pink eye caused by bacteria or viruses is contagious, while pink eye caused by allergens is not. Children can get pink eye by touching something an infected person previously touched. Pink eye can also spread when children swim together or share towels.
To help prevent pink eye, one should wash their hands often with warm water and soap.  Coughing or sneezing into your elbow, avoiding rubbing your eyes or touching your face can also reduce the chances of catching or spreading infectious pink eye. Children should avoid sharing towels, pillowcases, or toys with other children who appear like they may have pinkeye. Teens and adults should not share or borrow makeup when pink eye is suspected. Individuals wearing contact lenses need to remove their lenses immediately if they develop symptoms of pink eye. Their lenses should be replaced with a fresh pair only after their eye symptoms have fully resolved.
Although pink eye is a fairly common condition and usually causes no long term eye or vision damage, it is important to see a doctor to determine if medical treatment is needed and to confirm that symptoms are not due to a more serious problem. If your doctor is unavailable, Urgent Care of Connecticut is a full service walk-in clinic open 365 days a year.
Cynthia Vanson, MD
Assistant Medical Director, Urgent Care of Connecticut

Health News + Events

What to Expect With COVID-19 & Back-to-School Protocols

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, it turned life upside down for more than 50 million school-age children across the country. In fact, according to Ed  Read More

TikTok Health Hacks: Safe or Sham?

No matter your preferred social media channel, you’ve likely seen viral health hacks for everything from congestion to snoring to weight loss. We turned to our team of certified  Read More

How to Treat a Dog Bite

Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, but even the friendliest of creatures can sometimes get spooked or display aggressive behavior. Bites can even happen when giving an excit  Read More

What Our Patients Are Saying

Rating 4.6
Rating 4.2
Rating 4.6
Rating 5.0

"The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital."

Derby, CT

"Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!"

Hamden, CT

"I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care."

Westwood, MA

"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today."

Somers, NY