Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition in children, characterized by inflammation of the transparent membrane covering the eye's surface and the eyelids' inside. Although conjunctivitis is generally benign, it can be very uncomfortable for children, disrupting daily activities. 

Fortunately, parents can take several simple steps to help prevent conjunctivitis in their children. Here's a practical guide to protecting your little ones' eyes from this unpleasant eye infection.

Practice good hand hygiene

Most cases of conjunctivitis are caused by viruses or bacteria spread by direct contact. Teach your children the importance of washing their hands regularly with soap and lukewarm water, insisting on washing their hands before touching their eyes. 

Avoid sharing personal items

Encourage your children not to share towels, tissues, hairbrushes, make-up or other personal items with classmates or siblings. Sharing these items can facilitate the spread of conjunctivitis germs. 

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces

Ensure that surfaces such as door handles, light switches, remote controls, and toys are regularly cleaned with a mild disinfectant to eliminate potentially infectious germs.

Avoid contact with infected people

If you know that a child or family member has conjunctivitis, avoid close contact with that person until the infection has healed. Encourage your child to avoid touching their eyes if they have been in contact with an infected person. 

Protect eyes from irritants

Allergens and irritating chemicals can trigger episodes of conjunctivitis in sensitive children. Limit your child's exposure to these irritants by using gentle cleaning products and avoiding cigarette smoke and pollen.

Practice good eye hygiene

Teach your child not to rub their eyes with their hands and to avoid touching their eyes with dirty or contaminated objects. Encourage your child to wash their face regularly and change pillowcases regularly to reduce the risk of infection. 

Maintain a clean environment

Ensure your child's bedroom is well-ventilated and free from dust and mould, which can aggravate the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. Use an air purifier if necessary to filter allergens from indoor air.

Following these simple tips can help significantly reduce the risk of your child developing conjunctivitis. However, if your child develops red, itchy, runny or burning eyes, promptly consult an optometrist for proper diagnosis and treatment. By caring for your child's eye health from an early age, you're helping to ensure healthy, clear vision for years to come.