Conjunctivitis (Pink eye, discharge) - What is conjunctivitis? And how do I treat it?

Conjunctivitis or "pink eye" is inflammation of the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the eye), and can be due to allergy (exposure to an irritant such a pollen, smoke or pets), infection or chemical irritation. It usually presents with a red eye and possible eye discharge. You may start treating pink eye with a cold tap water compress, avoiding irritants, and cleaning the discharge. If symptoms persist for 48 hours and heavy discharge occurs, your child should see his pediatrician to make the correct diagnosis and administer the appropriate treatment, which usually consists of eye drops or cream.  Significant eye pain, swelling or severe light sensitivity require same day medical evaluation. Conjunctivitis in the newborn might suggest a blocked tear duct, which requires massaging of the tear duct and possible topical antibiotics.