Conjunctivitis is a common diagnosis in children and babies. Due to close physical contact when playing with other children or family members, children are at particular risk of contracting and transmitting contagious conjunctivitis. Combined corneal and conjunctivitis (keratoconjunctivitis) often breaks out like an epidemic in kindergartens or schools. Therefore, many schools and kindergartens require sufficient healing before a sick child should go back to other children.
Causes of conjunctivitis in babies & children
A very common cause of conjunctivitis in children and babies is the closure of the lacrimal ducts. The tear tubules can often develop delayed. Since the tears can not drain away, the children suffer from a constantly watery eye and a small tear lake forms on the lower lid.
This tear lake favors the settlement of bacteria and the child suffers recurring conjunctivitis. The ophthalmologist tries to reopen the tear ducts, which allows a tear outflow. Then the conjunctivitis usually stays out.
Gonococci can cause dangerous conjunctivitis. If a mother carries the gonorrhea in the genital tract, the newborn can become infected in the birth canal and develop conjunctivitis. Then the baby has to be treated in the hospital to prevent corneal involvement and complications.
In order to avoid a gonococcal conjunctivitis of the baby, prophylactic eye drops can be given after birth.
Chlamydia and pneumococci as the cause
In babies, chlamydia is often the cause of conjunctivitis. Again, the babies can be infected at birth in the mother's birth. A Chlamydia infection of the mother is often symptomless and can therefore go unnoticed for a long time.
Other relatively common causative agents of neonatal conjunctivitis are pneumococci. With them, a corneal ulcer may develop to the general symptoms.
In addition to highly contagious keratoconjunctivitis, babies can develop another form of viral conjunctivitis. This is triggered by herpes viruses, which may be located in the birth canal of the mother.