The eye can be affected by many diseases ranging from mild infections to more serious cancer-like pathologies. In this article I will talk about one that is quite common in children of any age and is called infectious conjunctivitis of viral type, viral conjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis or red eye.
The viral conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a thin, transparent membrane that lines the front of the eye (sclera) and the inside of the eyelid. It is caused by viruses and, among them, the most frequent is Adenovirus, which causes the common cold, being very contagious and more frequent in children than adults, and can spread as follows:
- Self-contagion from wiping or scratching the infected eye and then touching the healthy one.
- Infecting other children by direct contact and contaminated hands or by sharing towels, glasses, masks, pillows, bedding, facial products, makeup.
- Bathing in pools with waters contaminated with the virus.
It is a pathology that usually appears acutely, that is, many times the parents come to my office a little worried because the child who went to bed at night very well, woke up with edematized (swollen) eye, red, with a scab, clear, crusty discharge, severe itching (itching), and severe tearing.
But when performing the physical examination, a high respiratory condition with nasal congestion, anterior and posterior rhinorrhea, the result of a common cold caused by a viral agent, is also generally appreciated. There are also cases of viral conjunctivitis without other symptoms.
Treatment is symptomatic and is based on controlling the symptoms of the common cold (if any), since conjunctivitis practically resolves on its own within 1 to 2 weeks, although the following is indicated to relieve eye discomfort:
- Wash your hands with soap and water and place on the affected eye a wet gauze (compress) with warm water and leave it for a few minutes to moisten the secretion or crust that forms the same and then remove it without disturbing the eye.
- Always use new gauze and dispose of the used gauze in the trash.
- Wash hands very well again with plenty of soap and water.
- If there is a lot of itching (itching) or is very irritated you can place a few drops of saline solution. Antibiotic eye drops are not used because it is not bacterial, but viral in origin.
- As usual no painkillers needed, Unless the child reports pain and in that case there may be a complication, which indicates that it should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.
- Suspend nursery school only for 72 hours, while symptoms improve.
Always in the consultation, in addition to indicating some treatment, I emphasize the following recommendations for vision care in children:
- It is important to do an eye checkup with an ophthalmologist at least once a year to prevent diseases.
- Do not touch the eyes with dirty hands. Wash frequently with soap and water.
- Adequate diet, including foods rich in vitamin A: chicken, fish, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach, melon, apricots, mango and dairy products.
- In summer take care of the sun's eyesight with the use of dark glasses and do not bathe in pools with polluted waters.
- On the beach, avoid running your hands with sand over your eyes.
- Any discomfort in the eyes referred by the child, consult immediately with your pediatrician.
- Do not self-medicate.
Sight in humans is one of the most important senses, since through it the images and sensations that accompany those images are perceived and this affects our learning and behavior, therefore we must teach our children to care your sight.
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