Family Health Guide

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Eye Irritations: Symptoms

Pinkeye is generally painless, but sometimes causes a dry, irritated, burning sensation. (If your child is experiencing eye pain beyond this, it could be a symptom of a more serious problem like iritis, an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye that can lead to blindness if left untreated.) If your child’s eyes are red or irritated in any way, you should call your pediatrician. Symptoms vary with each type of pinkeye:

  • Bacterial – bright pink eyes; pus-like, goopy, yellow-green discharge; crusty eyes upon waking (sometimes crusted shut)
  • Viral – bright pink eyes; watery, straw-colored discharge (it’s not as severe nor as thick as the bacterial form); almost always accompanied by a cold or respiratory infection
  • Allergic – pink eyes; clear-colored, watery discharge; very itchy eyes

A blocked tear duct is easy to spot  --  you will notice tears welling up in your baby's eyes. In some cases, the area around the eye can begin to look goopy or crusty. The white part of the eye remains white. This usually isn’t anything to worry about (discharge can be present both with and without infection). However, if you notice swelling of eyelids and/or swelling of the upper sides of the nose near the eyes, call your pediatrician. Your baby may have developed an infection.