What are the symptoms of conjunctivitis in children?

Piper A. Calasanti-Ayuste, MD
Pediatrics
In children, symptoms of conjunctivitis (inflammation of the clear membranes covering the white of the eye and the inner side of the eyelid) include a reddened eye, a sandy or gritty feeling in the eye, and awakening with crust in one or both eyes. These symptoms can occur in children with any type of conjunctivitis, whether caused by bacteria, viruses or allergies.
 
If the reddened eye also develops a green or yellow discharge (pus), bacterial conjunctivitis or pinkeye is usually the cause. Children with allergic conjunctivitis typically have a watery discharge from the eye, but no pus or discharge.

Your child may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Redness around the eyes or in the whites of the eyes
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Drainage from the eyes, sometimes yellow or green
  • Eyes may be crusted shut with dry drainage after sleeping

A child with conjunctivitis may also have a cold, including a fever, runny nose and congestion.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.