Home Health Common causes of eye irritation in children

Common causes of eye irritation in children


Children are prone to all kinds of health conditions, from stomach bugs to head lice, but parents can often start to panic when their little ones complain that there’s a problem with their eyes. While eye problems shouldn’t be ignored, they’re usually nothing serious and can be treated quickly and easily. Knowing about the kinds of conditions that can irritate your child’s eyes is the first step to minimising worry, which is why this blog lists some of the most common causes. But remember, if you’re ever in doubt, it’s best to take your child to a doctor.


If your child is complaining that they have eye pain and you can see a bump on their eyelid, they might be suffering from a stye. Stye symptoms and signs can vary, but almost always include a small lump and tenderness. Luckily, the infection that causes styes to appear usually clears up after about a week, but you can help your child to feel more comfortable with a warm compress. Apply this for just ten minutes a few times a day. Encourage your child to avoid rubbing their eyes, especially before they’ve washed them.


Also referred to as pink eye, conjunctivitis is a very contagious infection that’s often picked up by children at school. It’s characterised by redness and an itchy sensation, so if your child seems to be rubbing their eyes a lot, chances are they’ve come into contact with some troublesome bacteria. Fortunately, pink eye is easy to treat and won’t cause any long-term harm, but make sure you’re washing your hands regularly to avoid contracting the infection yourself.


Itchy or watery eyes accompanied by sniffling often points to allergies, particularly in summer months when the pollen count is high. However, the source of your child’s allergies might not just be pollen and could extend to pet hair, dust or even mould. Try to identify when their symptoms become worse and whether they become better out in the fresh air. If their symptoms are particularly bothersome, then you can consider giving them some allergy medicine that’s suitable for their age group.

Small Objects

It’s all too common for children to rub small particles into their eyes and then complain about the pain. These particles could be bits of food or grains of sand, which can be incredibly irritating over time. While small objects will make their way out of your child’s eyes on their own, you can recommend that they try blinking or pulling down their upper eyelid. If these methods fail, consider purchasing an eye bath from the pharmacy to help with flushing any foreign objects out.

What if my child’s irritation isn’t going away?

If home remedies don’t seem to be doing the trick, make sure your little one sees a doctor as soon as possible. While most eye conditions are easily treatable, stubborn infections may require antibiotics if they haven’t cleared up in a week or two.