What is "pink eye"?
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is redness and inflammation of the membranes (conjunctiva) covering the whites of the eyes and the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids. These membranes react to a wide range of bacteria, viruses, allergy-provoking agents, irritants, and toxic agents, as well as to underlying diseases within the body. Viral and bacterial forms of conjunctivitis are common in childhood, but they occur in adults as well. Pink eye can occur in people of any age. Overall, however, there are many causes of pink eye. These can be classified as either infectious or noninfectious. Pink eye does not cause any changes in vision.
What infections cause pink eye, what are infectious pink eye symptoms, and how are they treated?
Viral pink eye
The leading cause of a red, inflamed eye is virus infection. Adenoviruses are the type of virus that are most commonly responsible for the infection. Viral pink eye symptoms are usually associated with more of a watery discharge that is not green or yellow in color. Often, viral "cold-like" symptoms, such as sinus congestion and runny nose, are also present. The eyelids may be swollen. Sometimes looking at bright lights is painful.
While viral pink eye may not require an antibiotic, those affected should see a doctor, as occasionally this form of pink eye can be associated with infection of the cornea (the clear portion of the front of the eyeball). This infection must be correctly detected and treated. Viral pink eye is highly contagious. The symptoms of viral pink eye can last one to two weeks. Symptoms are pronounced for the first three to five days after symptoms appear, with slow resolution over the following one to two weeks Bacterial pink eye Staphylococci and Streptococci, among others, are types of bacteria that commonly cause pink eye. Symptoms of bacterial pink eye include:
- Eye pain
- A moderate to large amount of discharge, usually yellow or greenish in color.
The discharge commonly accumulates after sleeping. Affected children may awaken most unhappy that their "eyes are stuck shut," requiring a warm washcloth applied to the eyes to remove the discharge. Bacterial pink eye is treated by repeated warm washcloths applied to the eyes (try applying these to your child's eye one eye at a time during a favorite video) and requires antibiotic eye drops or ointment prescribed by the doctor.
Regular Checkups for Kids
Children need regular eye exams, too! According to the American Optometric Association, children should be examined by an eye doctor just before they enter kindergarten or first grade (ages 5-6) and every two years thereafter for regular check-ups. Remember, an appropriate vision assessment at an early age can ultimately be vital in terms of how well your child performs in school. A child who is unable to see print or view a blackboard will become easily frustrated, leading to poor performance in school work.
Tips for Eye Care
Our vision seems to be one of the most important senses of the body, which is why we have to protect and care for them every now and then. Most eye problems in children are due to accidents and trauma, whereas adults tend to experience eyestrain due to improper use of the eyes and exposure to harmful conditions. Below are tips for taking good care of the eyes for various age brackets.
Because infants and toddlers are too young to take care for themselves, so parent’s or caregivers must protect their eyes.
Babies do not know when to shut their eyes like during dusty conditions. Even while playing, rubbing the eyes with dirty hands may cause serious problems. Hence, when playing with babies, toys and mobiles must be held at least 30 centimeters away from the eyes.
Babies’ eyes must not be directed to sunlight. When indoors, the crib must be positioned in such a way that the sun’s rays will not directly strike at the infant. Use a bonnet or a canopy over the head when going outdoors.
Naturally, toddlers are prone to touching various objects around them, so their hands must be checked periodically as they may harbor dust and minute particles that can be introduced to the eyes whenever they rub them. And fingernails must be cut short to prevent the child from inflicting injury to his/her own eyes. Babies should wear mittens.
Eye discharges or any eye abnormalities must be reported to the doctor immediately.
The curiosity of preschoolers is astounding. Children at this stage will become more curious and so parents must be more careful in looking after them especially in correcting every bad habit that he/she acquires that may ruin his good vision.
Begin with a diet rich in vitamin A--yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, papaya and squash.
Preschoolers can already be taught practices to prevent eye infection or injury. Most importantly, teach the child to avoid touching or rubbing the eyes particularly when foreign matter such as dust enters them.
Younger children must also be taught to avoid playing with sharp pointed objects as they may be dangerous. Do not play or poke them into someone else’s eyes. If possible, buy items that have blunted edges. For example, scissors must have plastic casings.
As the child moves up in the ladder of education, he will be engrossed with reading and school activities. Thus, proper reading habits must be taught to him. The child must be provided with an environment where he can apply the correct reading habits he has learned. As soon as parents notice their child having difficulty in reading a material from the average distance, take him to an ophthalmologist. Corrective lenses may already be necessary to help the child see clearly.
Most grownups have a pretty good grasp of the essentials of eye care. However, because of their busy schedule, they tend to delay eye checkups until the damage is already irreversible. And depending on the lifestyle and career, many also put excessive stress on their eyes.
Basic eye-care advice is practically the same for adults and for children: regular checkups, good reading habits, frequent eye rests, adequate protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays, and the use of safety eye gear when working with or around objects that can damage the eyes.
If you notice reading difficulties, you should have periodic checkups with your ophthalmologist at least once in a year. Near-sightedness usually slows down when the person is in his 20s. However, sever near-sightedness with a grade greater than 500 may require regular consultation with the doctor.
As part of the aging process, one may also experience visual difficulties particularly in focusing on near objects. This condition is called presbyopia, which is easily corrected by using corrective lenses.
People aged 45 plus who have glaucoma running in the family must see an ophthalmologist at least every year. Glaucoma, a condition wherein there is an increased fluid pressure inside the eye, can lead to blindness. However, with modern science, the disease is highly manageable when detected at an early stage.
Diabetics also have an increased risk for becoming blind due to retinal damage as part of the complications of the disease process.
By paying attention to eyes at every age stage one can experience good eye health and vision throughout a lifetime.
Dallas Vision Services
American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss
11030 Ables Lane
Dallas, TX 75229
Dallas Lighthouse 4245 Office Parkway
Dallas, TX 75204
Web Site: www.dallaslighthouse.org
The Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides training, employment, and rehabilitative services that encourage opportunities for personal responsibility, economic independence, and social development for North Texans who are blind or visually impaired.
Rehabilitation services and training are provided for:
- Orientation and Mobility
- Adaptive computer training
- In-home assessments
- Training for Seniors
- Job training and rehabilitation
Low Vision Clinic
4242 Office Parkway
Dallas, TX 75204
214-828-9900 ext. 217 (Appointments)
Web Site: www.dallasservices.org/low_vision_clinic.php
- The mission of Dallas Services is to enable individuals with disabilities and other special needs to achieve their potential by fostering community inclusiveness and independence.
- The Low Vision Clinic provides assistance to all individuals experiencing vision problems that cannot be corrected with glasses or surgery, regardless of age, disability, or gender.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, TX 78756
800-872-5273 (Toll free)
The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) offers a broad range of educational services provides useful resources and links of national relevance, including adaptive and assistive technology; curriculum and publications; instructional and learning resources; physical education; and recreation and leisure skills.
Division for Rehabilitation Services
4800 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78751
800-628-5115 (Toll free)
Web Site: www.dars.state.tx.us/drs
Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
4800 North Lamar Blvd., Suite 340
Austin, TX 78756-3178
800-628-5115 (Toll free)
Web Site: www.dars.state.tx.us/dbs/index.shtml
Find an office in your area: www.dars.state.tx.us/dbs/DBSoffices.asp
The Division for Blind Services (DBS) assists blind or visually impaired individuals and their families. Depending upon their goals and needs, DBS offers services to help regain independence or find a job.
DBS staff work in partnership with Texans who are blind or visually impaired to get high quality jobs, live independently, or help a child receive the training needed to be successful in school and beyond.
Visual Aid Volunteers, Inc.
617 State Street
Garland, TX 75040
Visual Aid Volunteers, Inc. is a non-profit braille production center that serves clients throughout the United States. Braille transcription services include:
- School projects
- Restaurant menus
- Novels and other literary works
- Hotel information
- Church hymnals, bulletins, and lessons
- Business documents
Dart Paratransit Services
1401 Pacific Ave.
Dallas, TX 75266-0163 214-515-7272
If you are blind, legally blind, or disabled in some other way, DART Paratransit Services could help with transportation issues. Disabled individuals who carry a DART Paratransit card can also ride the regular bus for free.
Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services 6500 Greenville Ave, Suite 250 Dallas, TX
This federal agency brings public resources to persons with lost or impaired vision. They work in conjunction with Social Security and agencies like the Lighthouse for the Blind to bring technolgy and other resources to those in need.
Dr. Brian Celico
7150 Greenville Ave, Suite 305
Let Dr. Celico assist you with low vision needs like monoculars and computer based technology aids that help with your specific eye problem.
Helen Keller National Center for the Blind
12160 N. Abrams Rd., Suite 620
Our mission is to enable each person who is deaf-blind to live and work in their community of choice.