A wide variety of conditions can cause conjunctivitis, including bacteria, allergies, and viruses. Many of these infections are mild and usually resolve on their own. One of the most common is caused by a virus called adenovirus.
Common symptoms include discharge, tearing, irritation, redness, and blurred vision. It often starts in one eye but can easily spread to the other eye.
Is it contagious?
Yes, it is highly contagious! If you believe you have pink eye, make an appointment with a health care provider as soon as possible.
How long is it contagious?
Adenoviral conjunctivitis is contagious when there is tearing, a discharge or matting of the eyelids. Once the symptoms have stopped, you are no longer contagious and may return to school or work again. It usually remains contagious from three to seven days.
How to limit the spread of spread of Adenoviral Conjunctivitis:
- Avoid contact with or rubbing the infected eye.
- Wash hands frequently especially after touching your eyes.
- Sterilize towels and washcloths after use. Do not share towels, washcloths, pillow cases, eye makeup, or any items that could spread the infection from one person to another.
- Disinfect doorknobs, telephones, and other surfaces to avoid contamination.
- Discontinue use of eye makeup and discard any that used while your eyes were infected, especially mascara and liquid eyeliner.
- Keep away from public places until the discharge has resolved.
Contact lens users should not wear contact lenses until 24 hours after the infection is resolved.
Disposable contact lenses and their cases should be replaced before resuming use. Rigid gas permeable contact lenses should be sterilized properly before resuming use.
It is a good idea to have a spare pair of glasses! If you need any of these products, our on-campus vision clinic can assist.
How it is treated?
Most of the time it resolves on its own. Your health care provider may prescribe drops or ointment. If your health care provider prescribes medication, wash your hands before applying drops or ointment. Do not touch tip or tube to eyelid as this may contaminate the container. Even if you are feeling better, please complete the prescribed course of treatment.
Warning signs of a more serious eye condition:
- Pain in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Impairment to vision
- Recent trauma or injury of the eye
If you experience any of these conditions, please schedule an appointment with your health care provider.