Pink Eye Transmission
With bacterial and viral conjunctivitis (pink eye), transmission occurs through direct contact with the secretions from an infected eye, or contact with objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with these secretions. The virus or bacteria can be transmitted when an infected person touches their eye and then touches another surface. Symptoms tend to develop one to three days after transmission occurs.
Pink eye is the term used by most people to refer to the medical condition conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin piece of tissue that covers the whites of the eyes and the inner eyelids. When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, it looks pink or red from a distance.
There are several different types of conjunctivitis. Some of them are contagious, where a bacteria or virus causes the pink eye. Others are not contagious, being caused by allergies (allergic conjunctivitis) or something that irritates the eye, such as an eyelash.
When talking about how pink eye is spread, we are referring to either pink eye caused by bacteria (bacterial conjunctivitis) or a virus (viral conjunctivitis).
Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are highly contagious. They are spread by direct contact with infected eye secretions, or contact with objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with these eye secretions.
Contaminated objects or surfaces might include:
- Eye makeup
- Contact lenses.
The virus or bacteria can be transmitted when an infected person touches their eye and then touches another surface, such as a door handle. It can also be spread when they share an object that has touched their eye, such as a washcloth or pillow case.