If your child tells you his or her eye hurts, your first instinct is probably to panic. Once you compose yourself, you’ll ask a few key questions: Did you poke yourself? Is it red? Does it itch? Do you feel something in there?

Sometimes there is a foreign object in the eye which is causing pain, or the eye has been damaged by a foreign object which is no longer there. Sometimes, it’s just an infection. In all cases, the best thing to do is make an appointment with your children’s ophthalmologist in Livingston. Pediatric Eye Associates can help ensure that your child doesn’t experience permanent negative effects to their vision.

What could be the source of pain? Here are a few options:

1.     Foreign object in the eye

Maybe a bug flew into the eye, or maybe it was something harder, like a piece of sawdust, glass or a metal shaving. Although our eyes naturally produce tears to eject the object, it is possible that the object will remain. Do not try to remove the object yourself – you could end up damaging the cornea. Visit your Livingston kids’ eye doctor or the emergency room.

2.     Foreign object scratches the cornea

Sometimes, it isn’t a small foreign body that interacts with your eye but a large piece of material (or even a finger) which can cause an abrasion in the cornea. This can both be painful and potentially very damaging. An abrasion from getting poked in the eye or from a foreign body can get infected by bacteria or fungi, which can lead to blindness if left untreated.

3.     Black eye

If your child ran into something or fell on his face – especially around the nose – the eye pain may be coming from a black eye (bruising around the eye). Like any bruises, these can be sensitive, but if your child reports any pain when touching the eye socket, make an appointment with your children’s eye doctor in Livingston, as this can indicate a more severe injury.

4.     Conjunctivitis (Pink eye)

The most common source of eye pain is also usually accompanied by redness and itching – it’s pink eye, a highly contagious eye infection that occurs often in children. While pink eye doesn’t usually affect vision in the long-term, it is important to get it treated by your children’s eye doctor.

5.     Styes

These are small red bumps that appear on the eyelid, usually near the eyelashes, and they are small bacterial infections. Although they don’t usually cause vision problems, they may result in your child touching and itching their eye. This is a bad idea, as styes are contagious. Never pop a stye; if it doesn’t clear up by itself within a couple of days, check with your pediatric ophthalmologist to ensure it isn’t a symptom of something more severe.

Does your child’s eye hurt? Our ophthalmologists are here for you. Call to make an appointment at Pediatric Eye Associates today.