Pink Eye

Help protect yourself from getting and spreading Pink Eye (conjunctivitis)

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
  • Discharge
  • 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.

www.cdc.gov/pinkeye

Students diagnosed with pink eye should remain out of school until they have received 24 hours of appropriate antibiotics, or have been approved by a healthcare provider to return. Students should not return to school with purulent drainage.

The best way to prevent transmission is through good hand washing.