Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

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An overview of the different causes, symptoms and treatments of this common eye infection in children known as pink eye.

Key points

  • Pink eye is most often caused by viral infections associated with the common cold. It can also be caused by bacterial infections or allergies.
  • Children with bacterial pink eye should take antibiotic drops or ointment. These are not needed for viral pink eye.
  • Viral and bacterial pink eye are contagious. Prevent them from spreading with good hand washing and the use of alcohol-based hand rubs.
  • Pink eye should not cause any long-term damage to a child's vision.
  • Seek medical attention if there is a change in vision, persistent redness, eye pain or eyelid swelling.
Last updated: August 31st 2023