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Pink eye, also referred to as conjunctivitis, is a condition of the eye that can spread easily. It can be caused by a virus or bacteria. Touching the drainage of an infected eye and then rubbing your own eyes can spread the virus or bacteria.
Whether someone in the family already has pink eye or you would just like to have clean and clear eyes this summer, there are ways to prevent getting it. Also, with summer comes the use of public facilities, pools and many outdoor activities where sanitation is not as high as in your home. By being cautious about the cleanliness of your hands, you may be able to keep everyone in the family pink eye-free this summer.

The Symptoms of Pink Eye

Pink eye presents with eye drainage, usually greenish in color. The eye may be itchy and it will appear red to pink, hence the name. Often you will wake in the morning with a crusted patch of discharge around the eye; sometimes so heavy that you cannot open your eye until you wash the crust away. Most types of pink eye can clear up on their own in a few days, especially those caused by allergic reactions or a virus. Sometimes, bacterial conjunctivitis will require medicated eye drops to clear the infection faster.

How to Prevent Pink Eye

Pink eye spreads through direct contact. It is easily spread between both eyes and the discharge can be present on shopping cart handles, pillow cases and just about anywhere an infected person can touch. To avoid catching conjunctivitis this summer, follow these tips:

  • Always wash your hands before touching your eyes using soap and warm water. If you have a pink eye infection in one eye, wash your hands immediately after applying medication or touching your face.
  • Do not share eye makeup products with anyone, whether they are showing the symptoms of pink eye or not.
  • Do not use eye makeup if you currently have conjunctivitis. The discharge will get into your eye makeup and contaminate it, allowing you to spread it to the other eye.
  • Do not share towels, pillows, linens or handkerchiefs with anyone.
  • Do not share eye drops with anyone.
  • Do not share contact lens containers or solutions.

If you suspect you have pink eye, getting an eye exam will give you the proper diagnosis and ensure timely treatment. Crowfoot Vision Centre’s Calgary eye doctors can also give you further tips to keep pink eye from spreading in your household or to your other eye. Call us at 403-241-3000 to schedule an eye exam or contact us online with your questions.