Eye - Red Without Pus

Disponible En Espanol

Care at Home

  • RETURN TO SCHOOL: * Pinkeye with watery discharge is harmless. There is a slight risk it could be passed to others. * Children with pink eyes from a cold do not need to miss any school. * Pinkeye is not a public health risk. Keeping these children home is over-reacting. If asked, tell the school your child is on eye drops (artificial tears).
  • CONTACT LENSES: * Children who wear contact lenses need to switch to glasses for a while. * Reason: To prevent damage to the cornea.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * Pinkeye with a cold usually lasts about 7 days.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Your child gets pus in the eye * Redness lasts more than 1 week * Your child becomes worse
  • ARTIFICIAL TEARS: * Artificial tears often make red eyes feel better. No prescription is needed. * Use 1 drop per eye 3 times a day as needed. Use them after cleansing the eyelids. * Antibiotic and vasoconstrictor eyedrops do not help viral eye infections.
  • FACE CLEANSING: * Wash the face with mild soap and water. * Wash off the eyelids with water. * This will remove any irritants still on the face.
  • EYE WASH: * Rinse the eye with warm water for 5 minutes.
  • EYE DROPS: * Red eyes from irritants usually feel much better after being washed out. * If they remain uncomfortable and bloodshot, you can use some artificial tears. * You can also use a long-acting vasoconstrictor eye drop. No prescription is needed. Ask your pharmacist to suggest a brand. * Dose: Use 1 drop every 8 to 12 hours as needed.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * After the irritant is removed, the eyes usually return to normal color. * This may take 1 to 2 hours.
  • PREVENTION: * Try to avoid future contact with the irritant.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Pus in the eye occurs * Redness lasts more than 7 days * Your child becomes worse
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Some viruses cause watery eyes (viral conjunctivitis). * It may be the first symptom of a cold. * It isn't serious. You can treat this at home. * Colds can cause a small amount of mucus in the corner of the eye. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • EYE CLEANSING: * Cleanse eyelids with warm water and a clean cotton ball. * Try to do this every 2 hours while your child is awake and at home. * This usually will keep a bacterial infection from occurring.
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Most eye irritants cause redness of the eyes. * It that will go away on its own. * You can treat that at home.
  • EYE DROPS: HOW TO GIVE * For a cooperative child, gently pull down on the lower lid. Put 1 drop inside the lower lid. Then ask your child to close the eye for 2 minutes. Reason: So the medicine will get into the tissues. * For a child who won't open his eye, have him lie down. Put 1 drop over the inner corner of the eye. If your child opens the eye or blinks, the eye drop will flow in. If he doesn't open the eye, the drop will slowly seep into the eye.


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Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
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