Children are notorious for getting eye infections or having accidents that result in injuries to the eyes. However, treating these issues is more complex due to the age and development of children compared to an adult. Certain eye drops are approved for use in children based on studies that have shown the drops can be used safely. Other eye drops have not been evaluated in children or have been shown to pose additional risks if given to children under eighteen. When your eye doctor is treating a child, the doctor will prescribe drops that have been shown to be safe but are still effective for the treatment.
Types of Infections that Need Eye Drops
One of the most common reasons for prescribing eye drops to a child is due to an eye infection. These infections can be viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic.
Based on the type of organism causing the infection, the correct eye drop can be prescribed to treat the infection and improve the symptoms.
Red eyes with lots of mucus discharge are commonly associated with a bacterial eye infections in children.
A single red eye with associated eye pain may be due to a viral eye infection from a herpes virus.
Eye Drops for Infections in Children
If the infection is from a bacteria, the eye drops will be antibiotic eye drops. There are many different drops and ointments which are approved for use in children.
Among the most frequently used antibiotic eye drops for children are Polytrim (polysporin and trimethoprim), Vigamox (moxifloxacin), and Genoptic (gentamicin).
Ointments used for children can be either erythromycin or ciprofloxacin.
For a viral infection from a herpes virus, the drop approved for use in children is Viroptic (trifluridine), but additional oral medications may also be needed.
Eye Inflammation in Children
If the eyes are red, irritated, and swollen but there is no active infection, the inflammation may be the primary problem.
Instances in which inflammation is the main cause of the symptoms are frequent and require the use of a steroid eye drop to reduce the inflammation and improve the symptoms of redness, burning, pain, and light sensitivity.
Steroid Eye Drops for Kids
Many steroid eye drops are not authorized for any pediatric usage due to concerns about potential side effects.
However, there is a stand-alone eye drop, FML (fluorometholone), that is approved for use in children over the age of 3.
Additionally, there are two common combination eye drops which include a steroid and antibiotic that can be used if there is a concurrent infection contributing to the eye problems.
The combination of eye drops Tobradex (tobramycin and dexamethasone) and Maxitrol (neomycin, polytrim, and dexamethasone) are both approved to use in children.
Other Eye Drops for Kids
Other eye problems such as allergies or glaucoma may need specific drops to treat the condition.
In nearly every class of eye medication, there is at least one drop that is approved for use in children.
When a child is needing any medication, the overall health and well-being of the child are the priority, and any potential risk must be seriously considered the best effort is made to only utilize medications approved for use in children.