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Pink eye or not?


Many kids are brought in for pink eye when it is not.  When there is a green runny nose, the germs back up the tear duct to the eye and cause the eye to have green drainage.  The white of the eye is not very red.  This is what grandma called “cold in your eye.”  It is a sinus infection that is affecting the eye.  In Pink Eye, the white of the eye is red and there is drainage every  few hours.  Half of the children who have green drainage in the nose and eyes have an ear infection with it.  So we will always check the ears in that situation.  There are three tubes that enter the nose (that is frequently referred to as your sinuses but is really just the nasal passage.)  One is the tear duct, one is the Eustachian Tube, and one is the passages into the facial bones that are really your sinuses.  The tear duct and Eustachian Tube are right next to each other so when germs migrate up one, they usually affect both of them.  Just because you have a green runny nose does not mean you have a sinus infection but you are at increased risk for one.  You may just have an increased number of germs in the mucus of the nasal passage and they are not in the sinuses.  So it will not help to call for antibiotic eye drops if there is no redness of the eye ball.  They need antibiotics for the sinuses if there is green nose and eyes without red eyes. 


Most of the pink eyes in the pollen season are allergies.  There is Opticon allergy eye drops in the drug store for that.

Eye eye eye!  This is confusing. 

Dr. Knapp

See my video on this.