If you have a red, itchy eye with discharge, then you may have pink eye. Also known as conjunctivitis, it’s the inflammation of the conjunctiva or the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye, according to WebMD. Pink eye can be present in one or both eyes.

pink eye contagious

How contagious is pink eye? The infection can be very contagious and early treatment can help you to feel better and limit its spread.

Pink Eye Symptoms

Along with itchy red eyes, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Eyes are producing more tears than normal
  • Eyes are burning
  • Your vision is blurry
  • Your eyes are more sensitive to light

What Causes Pink Eye?

Conjunctivitis can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or allergies. According to the Mayo Clinic, “most cases of pink eye are caused by a virus.” It can also occur with a cold or respiratory infection.

Bacterial conjunctivitis can be caused by wearing contact lenses that are not clean. Viral and bacterial eye infections are highly contagious.

How to Limit the Spread

The Mayo Clinic suggests practicing good hygiene to limit the spread of pink eye. These steps include:

  • Washing your hands often
  • Using clean towels
  • Avoid touching your infected eye with your hands
  • Not sharing towels
  • Changing your pillowcases more frequently
  • Throwing away your eye makeup
  • Not sharing eye makeup

It’s advised not to go to work with pink eye. Ultimately the best way to lessen the spread of conjunctivitis is to stay home from work or school until 24 hours after starting treatment. However, the Mayo Clinic says pink eye is no more contagious than the common cold. So if you have to, it is OK to go to work or school. Practice good hygiene to limit its spread.

Pink Eye Treatment

Pink eye can be treated at home in some cases, according to the CDC. At-home treatment includes using a cold compress and artificial tears. If you wear contact lenses, stop wearing them until you no longer have symptoms of the eye infection. It is important to seek medical care if you experience:

  • Pain in one eye or both
  • Blurred vision or sensitivity to light does not improve after you wipe your eyes
  • Intense redness in one eye or both
  • Symptoms that worsen or do not improve
  • A weakened immune system

Stop by Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine in Colorado to get treated quickly. Walk-ins are welcome or you can schedule your visit online.