Help protect yourself from getting and spreading Pink Eye (conjunctivitis)
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Pink eye is extremely common.
Public school kids in the U.S. miss 3 million school days each year as a result of pink eye.
Pink eye is often highly contagious.
It can be caused by
- Viruses (very contagious)
- Bacteria (very contagious)
- Allergens, like pollen (not contagious)
- Irritants, like smoke or dust (not contagious)
Symptoms usually include:
- Redness or swelling
- Watery eyes
- A gritty feel
- Itchiness, irritation, or burning
- Crusting of the eyelids or lashes
See a doctor if you have pink eye along with any of the following:
- Eye pain
- Sensitivity to light or blurred vision
- Intense eye redness
- Symptoms that get worse or don’t improve
- A weakened immune system, for example from HIV or cancer treatment
- Pre-existing eye conditions
A doctor can usually diagnose the cause of pink eye based on symptoms and patient history.
Newborns with symptoms of pink eye should see a doctor right away.
Protect yourself and others from pink eye
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, and help young children do the same. Wash hands especially well after touching someone with pink eye or their personal items.
- Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. This can worsen the condition or spread it to your other eye.
- Avoid sharing personal items, such as makeup, eye drops, towels, bedding, contact lenses and containers, and eyeglasses.
- Do not use the same eye products for your infected and non-infected eyes.
- Stop wearing contact lenses until your eye doctor says it’s okay.
- Clean, store, and replace your contact lenses as instructed by your eye doctor.
- Healthy eye
- Infected eye
- Illustration of normal, healthy eye
- Illustration of bloodshot eyeball with green and clear discharge along upper and lower eyelid
- Female doctor shining light into inflamed eye of a young girl
- Adult hand holding child’s hand under running water and soap bar
- Page last reviewed: October 2, 2017
- Page last updated: December 19, 2017
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