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Pediatric Care Doctor & Ophthalmology

Viral & Allergic Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as "pink eye," is an eye condition that can affect people of all ages but is particularly prevalent among children. It is categorized into different types based on the cause, with viral and allergic conjunctivitis being the two main types.

  • Viral Conjunctivitis is an infection caused by a virus, often the same one responsible for the common cold. It's highly contagious and can spread quickly in environments like schools or workplaces.
  • Allergic Conjunctivitis, on the other hand, is an immune response to allergens. Allergic conjunctivitis causes commonly include pet dander, dust, pollen, and other airborne allergens. It's not contagious, but it can be recurrent, especially during certain seasons or in specific environments.

Most viral and allergic conjunctivitis symptoms are very similar. Itchy, teary, red eyes are the most common. However, viral conjunctivitis often comes with a watery discharge, while allergic conjunctivitis can cause puffy eyelids and nasal congestion due to the body's allergic response.

At Pediatric Ophthalmology of Erie, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric conjunctivitis. Our experienced eye specialists will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses the cause of your child's conjunctivitis and alleviates their symptoms. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about how we can help. We look forward to seeing you!


A girl with an irritated eye

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Viral or Allergic Conjunctivitis Medication & Treatment

Treatment for these two types of conjunctivitis varies based on their causes.

Viral conjunctivitis, because it's caused by a virus, it usually resolves on its own. Symptomatic relief can be achieved through cool compresses, artificial tears, or over-the-counter eye drops to alleviate dryness and itching. However, if symptoms persist and interfere with your child's daily activities, our specialists may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication like steroid eye drops.

For those suffering from allergic conjunctivitis, the treatment aims to control symptoms and prevent further episodes. Antihistamine eye drops, topical lubricants, and oral antihistamines are commonly used. Avoiding known allergens is also a crucial part of managing this condition.

While both viral and allergic conjunctivitis can cause discomfort, understanding their differences helps inform appropriate treatment strategies. Regardless of the type, if you suspect conjunctivitis, it's essential to seek professional medical advice from experts like our team at Pediatric Ophthalmology of Erie. We'll work with you to help your child find relief as quickly and effectively as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will viral or allergic conjunctivitis affect my child's vision permanently?

In most cases, neither viral nor allergic conjunctivitis directly cause permanent damage to vision. However, severe or untreated cases can potentially lead to other complications that might impact vision. Therefore, it's crucial to seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen.

My child has pink eye; how can I prevent it from spreading?

Because viral conjunctivitis is so contagious, it's essential to take extra precautionary measures to prevent the infection from spreading. This includes keeping your child home from school or daycare; frequently washing towels, sheets, and clothing; regularly washing your hands; and avoiding touching your face.

Will my insurance cover the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis?

At Pediatric Ophthalmology of Erie, we are proud to accept a number of major insurance plans from providers in the region. We strive to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for our patients so that they can receive the highest quality of care, which is why we also suggest calling your provider before scheduling. This helps to ensure that you don't incur any surprise costs.

How can I get started with a top pediatric eye doctor in Erie, PA?

Our easy-to-use online tool makes scheduling an appointment with us simple and convenient. Alternatively, if you prefer a more personal touch or need any assistance, we are just a phone call away. Our friendly team is always ready to help set up your child's visit and answer any of your questions!

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