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Pink Eye Prevention

By on January 20, 2014

Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition, causing inflammation (swelling) of the thin layer that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. Conjunctivitis is often called “pink eye” or “red eye” because it can cause the white of the eye to take on a pink or red color.

Most cases of viral conjunctivitis are mild. Days 3-5 of infection are often the worst, but the infection will usually clear up in 7–14 days without treatment and without any long-term consequences.

Viral and bacterial pink eye are very contagious and can spread easily and quickly from person to person. By following some simple self-care steps, like washing your hands and not touching your eyes, you can reduce the risk of getting or spreading pink eye.

If you have infectious (viral or bacterial) conjunctivitis,  follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
  • Wash any discharge from around the eyes several times a day.
  • Avoid sharing articles like towels, blankets, and pillowcases.
  • Clean eyeglasses, being careful not to contaminate items (like towels) that might be shared by other people.
  • Do not share eye makeup, contact lenses and containers, or eyeglasses.

A healthcare provider should be seen if:

  • Conjunctivitis is accompanied by moderate to severe pain in the eye(s).
  • Conjunctivitis is accompanied by vision problems, such as sensitivity to light or blurred vision, that does not improve when any discharge that is present is wiped from the eye(s).
  • Conjunctivitis is accompanied by intense redness in the eye(s).

And to avoid re-infection, once the original infection subsides, throw away disposable contact lenses and cases that were used while your eyes were infected. And be sure to clean extended wear lenses as directed.


Content for this article provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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