What is pink eye and how do I treat it?

Pediatrician Lawrence Kagan, MD, shares advice for parents on what pink eye is, how it is commonly caused, and the best methods for treating it in children
Symptoms And Treatments For Pink Eye In Children - Kids Health Tips
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What is pink eye and how do I treat it?

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Pink eye or conjunctivitis, inflammation of the eye, comes in four forms. There's a chemical conjunctivitis which is caused by exposure to something. Allergic conjunctivitis, which is usually just itchy eyes, something that happens in the morning. It is something to discuss with your pediatrician because it is manageable. The two forms of infectious conjunctivitis that we see so commonly in children, what we refer to as pink eye, is bacterial and viral conjunctivitis. Differentiating the two can be complicated. Unfortunately, most daycare and academic institutions will not allow a child to return to school unless they are either under treatment, with antibiotic eye drops, or the infection is completely resolved. Unfortunately, too often in pediatrics, we will prescribe the antimicrobial drops just to get them back into school. Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis will almost always resolve on its own. There are some suggestive signs that we can do on exam to try and differentiate. When I suspect that you have bacterial conjunctivitis, which is the type that tends to have more of a greenish or pus discharge, then I would more likely to use an antibiotic drop. The viral ones can go away on their own, but sometimes it's hard to wait for that to happen.

Pediatrician Lawrence Kagan, MD, shares advice for parents on what pink eye is, how it is commonly caused, and the best methods for treating it in children

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Lawrence Kagan, MD

Pediatrician

Lawrence Kagan, MD, FAAP, is a UCLA honors graduate, with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. He received medical training at USC Keck School of Medicine, and completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. In addition to passionately studying neonatal, general pediatric and adolescent medicine at CHLA, he had the opportunity to train under some of the greatest minds in subspecialty pediatrics, diagnosing and managing the rarest and most complicated childhood ailments. Prior to opening Westside Pediatrics, he worked as an attending physician at the CHLA Emergency Department as well as at Cedars Sinai Urgent Care. Dr. Kagan is a native of Los Angeles and is happily married with two children.

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