Study: Pink eye complications vary in range

January 31, 2012 1:51:16 PM PST
Baby Finn Hinkel has pink eye. Pink eye can have many different causes, ranging from just simple irritation from a speck of dust to being caused by a virus, according to Dr. Jennifer Shu, a doctor at Amer. Academy of Pediatrics. Shu explained that allergies or bacteria could cause pink eye.

"Sometimes the lids will be so crusty that he's not able to open his eye," said Katie Hinkel, the mother of Finn.

A wash cloth dipped in cold water can ease the symptoms.

"Sometimes just using a cold compress is enough to make it go away," said Shu. "However, if it gets worse and worse, then using an antibiotic ointment or drops or sometimes even oral antibiotics will be necessary."

People wearing contact lenses should see a doctor early to prevent complications. Pink eye is often very contagious, so a few simple steps early on can help keep it from spreading, according to the National Institutes of Health.

"Really good hand washing, keeping a child out of school or day care until their symptoms go away, and avoid sharing objects like wash cloths," said Shu.

Some babies, like Finn, get pink eye more often because of a blocked tear duct. Both mom and doctor are hoping he will outgrow out of it.