New COVID Variant Linked to Pink Eye in Children

A new COVID variant, nicknamed “Arcturus,” has been linked with conjunctivitis, or pink eye, especially in children. The variant was first detected in the United States in January 2023.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the white of the eye. It can be caused by a variety of things, including viruses, bacteria, and allergies. In the case of COVID-19, it is believed that the virus can enter the body through the eyes and cause inflammation.

The symptoms of conjunctivitis can vary from person to person, but they often include:

  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Watery discharge
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Swelling of the eyelids

Conjunctivitis caused by COVID-19 is usually mild and goes away on its own within a few days. However, in some cases, it can lead to more serious complications, such as corneal ulcers.

Children are more likely to develop conjunctivitis from COVID-19 than adults. This is because their immune systems are not as developed as adults. Additionally, children are more likely to touch their eyes, which can spread the virus.

If you or your child develops conjunctivitis, it is important to see a doctor. The doctor will be able to diagnose the cause of your conjunctivitis and recommend treatment. If the cause of the conjunctivitis is COVID-19, the doctor may prescribe medication to help relieve the symptoms and prevent the spread of the virus.

There are a number of things you can do to prevent the spread of conjunctivitis, including:

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoiding rubbing your eyes.

If you do develop conjunctivitis, there are a number of things you can do to relieve the symptoms, including:

  • Applying cold compresses to your eyes.
  • Using artificial tears.
  • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from light.
  • Avoiding rubbing your eyes.

If you are concerned about your child’s health, please consult with a doctor.