What is pink eye in babies?


Quick Answer

According to WebMD, pinkeye in a baby is the same as that in an adult and is called conjunctivitis. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva and is caused by viruses, bacteria or irritants, including allergens. Immediate medical attention must be sought when an infant shows the signs of pinkeye. If left untreated, it can lead to sight damage.

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Full Answer

According to KidsHealth, the conjunctiva is a transparent tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the sclera, or the white part of the eye. Conjunctivitis causes it to become inflamed and red in appearance.

KidsHealth warns that newborns are especially vulnerable to the illness, and although it usually clears up on its own in adults and children, if left untreated in newborns, there is a higher probability of serious complications developing. Infants born to mothers who have contracted a sexually transmitted illness are prone to contracting the infection as conjunctivitis upon exiting the birth canal. It is for this reason that doctors apply an antibiotic in the form of an ointment or eye drops immediately after birth as a preventative measure.

According to BabyCenter, a washcloth dipped in warm, clean water can be applied over the infant's eyes to soothe the symptoms of conjunctivitis. However, all infants need to see a doctor for this illness.

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