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see your doctor within 24 hours possible cause Bacterial conjunctivitis is likely. This is inflammation of the membrane covering the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids due to infection by bacteria.

action Your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment. He or she may also advise you on self-help measures for coping with conjunctivitis (opposite). To prevent your child spreading conjunctivitis, keep him or her away from other children and do not let him or her share face cloths or towels until the symptoms have cleared up.

possible cause Nonbacterial conjunctivitis is likely. This is inflammation of the membrane covering the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids due to allergy, chemical irritation, or a viral infection.

action The inflammation will usually clear up on its own. However, if you are not sure that conjunctivitis is the cause or if your symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, you should consult your doctor.

call your doctor now

Possible cause Iritis, inflammation of the coloured part of the eye, is a possibility.

action Your doctor will refer your child to a specialist for a detailed eye examination and for other tests to look for disorders that sometimes occur with iritis, such as arthritis. Iritis needs immediate treatment with corticosteroid eye drops or tablets to prevent permanent damage to vision.

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Do one or both eyes water continuously?

Are the eyelids yes red and itchy? YES

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