Let’s talk about pink eye

Let's talk about pink eye. I'm Dr. Alan Greene. Pink eye is a very common problem especially among children. And first off, yes it is contagious - very contagious. Whenever they touch their eyes, and it is common to rub eyes when you have pink eye, the hands are then infected and contagious. Then they touch other objects. They touch your hands. You have an infected hand and you touch your own nose or mouth or eye and you can get pink eye that way. So the best way to break that chain of infection is frequent hand washing spread by the hands.

Now, often schools will recommend that kids have some kind of eye drops and antibiotic eye drops before they go back to school. This is often done. Most pink eye in general pink eye is defined as viral conjunctivitis. It's a virus where the antibiotics don't make a big difference. But if you do need to give eye drops for whatever reason for the eye, let me talk about how to get them in because with children, it can be kind of tough. And the best thing is you get them to lie down on their back, and when they're lying on their back, it's okay if they close their eyes or open their eyes - don't worry about trying to hold the eyes open. But just put 3, 4, or 5 drops right in the corner of the eye while they're lying flat and then when they do blink, their eyes open it will slip right in there. Take care of it that way. But be sure and wash your hands afterwards.

Review Date: 2/18/2016
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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