The most common eye infection during childhood is conjunctivitis, or what is commonly called sore eyes. Sore eyes are usually viral in nature and will typically go away after a week. But according to Dr. Bolinao, some cases of sore eyes are bacterial, so all eye infections should be carefully checked. She also advises against self-medication and getting over-the-counter medicine without consulting a doctor.
“For any eye redness,” she says, “it is better to consult a doctor first before you put any eye drops because not all eye redness is actually caused by conjunctivitis or sore eyes.” Some drug stores recommend eye drops with a combination of antibiotics and steroids.
“There are conditions that worsen with steroids,” she adds.
As a home remedy, put a cold compress on your child’s eye to lessen inflammation and itchiness. Dr. Bolinao also suggests applying artificial tears, commonly known by its generic name “hypromellose”—a formulation similar to human tears. “But avoid tetrahydrozoline drops because although they will remove the redness, your eye infection’s symptoms have a tendency to rebound after prolonged use,” she adds.
For sties (kuliti), she recommends putting a warm compress to open up the pores and let the pus out. However, for severe cases, leave it to your eye doctor to extract pus out of your child’s sty, as he is skilled and have sterile instruments.
Joanne Bolinao, M.D., pediatric ophthalmologist, American Eye Center
Christy Querido, O.D., optometrist, Arcangel Medical Diagnostic Laboratory