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How do you get pink eye?

How do you get pink eye

Young woman getting the medicine in the eye

There are 3 main causes of pink eye (also known as conjunctivitis):

    1. Viral conjunctivitis.
      Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a viral infection, such as a common cold, and whilst it is highly contagious, it generally resolves itself within a few days without intervention.
    2. Bacterial conjunctivitis
      Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection and can be quite serious if left untreated.
    3. Allergic/chemical conjunctivitis
      Allergic or chemical conjunctivitis is caused by irritants such as dust, pollen, animal dander or exposure to chemical irritants. Learn more about eye allergies.

What is pink eye?

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is when the conjunctiva (the membrane lining the inside of the eyelid and front of the eye) becomes inflamed. It is a common eye problem that can affect all ages, and can spread quickly in educational environments like preschools due to its contagious nature. Pink eye got its name from the condition’s most obvious symptom; red, bloodshot eyes. The whites of the eye turn a pinkish colour due to the blood vessels in the conjunctiva dilating as they become inflamed.

Pink eyes signs & symptoms

Is pink eye contagious?

The contagiousness of pink eye depends on its cause. While bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are commonly highly contagious, conjunctivitis due to allergens and chemical irritants is not contagious. It is not uncommon for contagious pink eye to spread from one eye to the other in the infected individual.

What is the incubation period for pink eye?

In the case of contagious pink eye, the incubation period can be up to 14 days.

Can conjunctivitis be treated?

Seek professional advice

It’s always best to seek the expert advice of your local independent optometrist, who will perform a thorough assessment of your eye health as part of a comprehensive eye examination.

Find your nearest optometrist now


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