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This review addresses the differential diagnosis and management of a common pediatric chief complaint, conjunctivitis (often called “pink eye”). Knowledge of the various causes of conjunctivitis is important for pediatric clinicians to determine if the child requires specific treatment and if referral to an ophthalmologist is warranted. This review provides an update on the evaluation and management of infectious and noninfectious causes of conjunctivitis.

Inflammation of the conjunctiva, commonly known as conjunctivitis, often presents with hyperemia or injection of the conjunctiva, resulting in a so-called “red eye” or “pink eye.” Conjunctivitis varies in severity from mild hyperemia with epiphora (tearing) to subconjunctival hemorrhage or chemosis (conjunctival edema) with copious purulent discharge and concomitant eyelid edema. The differential diagnosis for red eye is broad because many ophthalmic conditions masquerade as conjunctivitis (Table).

Because of its location (Fig. 1),...

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