What Parents Can Do When Kids Have Sore Eyes

Sore eyes are a common issue among kids and can spread quickly, too! Here’s what parents can do to help.

There are several reasons why kids can get sore eyes. This includes rubbing their eyes too often, not resting their eyes long enough, or having an allergic reaction to contact lenses (if they wear any). Even dirt and dry air can irritate our kids’ eyes!

When they do get sore eyes, it can be uncomfortable for them and difficult to deal with. Our kids will have a hard time seeing—plus, the itchiness and discomfort can be too much for them. And given how sore eyes spreads so easily, they’ll need to be quarantined, so that they don’t infect anyone else.

Here are some ways parents can help their kids with sore eyes.

kid washing face to prevent sore eyes

1. Wash their eyes with cold water.

Dust, pollen, smoke, and even heat can be common causes of sore eyes among kids. While the heat dries up their eyes, dust, pollen, and smoke carry all sorts of bacteria and germs which can cause what the Department of Health (DOH) calls “viral conjunctivitis.”

When our kids get sore eyes because of an allergic reaction, the first thing they need to do is wash it out with cold water. Make sure to also stop them from being exposed to what caused the allergy, too—whether it’s pollen, dust, or even contact lenses.

2. Put a warm or cold compress on sore eyes.

Warm or cold compresses help our kids with sore eyes because it changes how the blood flows through their eyes. Because of the heat spreading throughout the face, a warm compress makes the blood flow away from the eyes. This makes it less itchy. A cold compress, on the other hand, numbs the nerves while reducing blood flow into the affected area.

Choosing which compress to use will depend on what your kid is feeling. A hot compress reduces itchiness, while a cold compress can provide relief from discomfort.

eyedrops on kid with sore eyes

3. Use eyedrops to help with the healing process.

Some eyedrops may require a prescription, but others can easily be bought over the counter at your preferred drugstore. Eyedrops soothe the eyes and rehydrate them. This helps wash out the dirt that’s irritating the eye or reduce the redness and itchiness—depending on which brand you use.

Just make sure our kids are lying down before dropping 2 to 3 drops on each eye. Have them close their eyes after, so the solution stays in their eye and does its work.

4. Consult your pediatrician if your child’s eyes leak green or yellow mucus.

Once our kids’ sore eyes start leaking green or yellow mucus, that usually means it’s not an allergy anymore. This makes it a bacterial case—also known as bacterial conjunctivitis.

Usually, this scenario has our kids tearing out greenish-yellow mucus. To remedy that, pediatricians normally prescribe antibiotic drops or ointment that you will need to regularly apply on your kids. Newborn babies are also prone to this because of clogged tear ducts—the part of their eyes that allow them to produce tears when they cry.

5. If it’s viral conjunctivitis, rule out any other sicknesses.

Sore eyes that are caused by viruses usually mean that our kids are sick with something else. When our kids have the common cold, they tend to rub their eyes a lot because they’re itchy and constantly watery. But if it’s viral, it usually starts with one eye before affecting the other.

Sore eyes caused by allergies usually affect both eyes at once and can go away after some antihistamines and some washing.

kid rubbing eyes

Kids will always rub their eyes, making them prone to sore eyes!

Since kids love exploring, it’s no surprise their hands will get everywhere. They’ll touch a vase, the table, the soil, some garbage, and maybe even some food before putting their hands in their mouth or rubbing their eyes. They can even touch their beloved pets, while forgetting to clean up after!

But that’s a child’s nature—they explore using their hands and touching every little thing. However, it’s important to remind them to always wash their hands so there are fewer chances of getting sore eyes or other sicknesses.

Remember—prevention is better than cure!

More about kids?

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Understanding Whooping Cough: What Parents Can Do When Their Kids Get It
Friendship Over: What Can Parents Do When Their Kids Lose Their Best Friends?

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