Eye Infection, Bacterial: Brief Version
What is an eye infection?
When your child has an eye infection, you may see:
- Yellow discharge (pus) in the eye.
- Eyelids stuck together with pus.
- Redness or pinkness of the white part of the eyes.
- Puffy eyelids.
Bacteria cause eye infections with pus. Pink eyes with no pus are caused by a virus.
How can I take care of my child?
Clean the eye.
- Take away all pus with warm water and wet cotton balls.
- Do this before you put in any medicine. This will give the medicine a chance to work.
Put in eyedrops or ointment.
This kind of infection must be treated with antibiotic eye drops. Your child's doctor must prescribe these drops.
- Put 1 drop in each eye every 4 hours while your child is awake.
- Gently pull down on the lower lid and place the drops inside the lower lid.
- Use the ointment just 4 times a day. It stays in the eyes longer than eyedrops.
- Open the eyelids.
- Put a ribbon of ointment along the lower eyelid from one corner of the eye to the other.
How can I prevent my child from spreading the infection?
- Give your child his own washcloth and towel.
- Wash your child's hands often.
Call your child's doctor right away if:
- The outer eyelids get very red or swollen.
- The eye is painful.
- Your child's vision is blurred.
- Your child starts to act very sick.
Call your child's doctor within 24 hours if:
- The infection hasn't cleared up after you've treated it for 3 days.
- Your child gets an earache.
- You have other concerns or questions.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-11-23
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes
available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical
evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.