Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"How did I get pink eye?"

ZocdocAnswersHow did I get pink eye?


I went to a friend's house over the weekend, and then on the Monday after I had pink eye. What shoujld I do now? Did something at her apartment give me pink eye? How is it caused?


Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of conjunctiva which is the thin, transparent tissue covering the whites of the eyes and the membranes on the inner parts of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis is very common. It usually is not serious and goes away in 7-10 days. However, pink eye may be serious if you have impaired immune system or if you wear contact lenses. Conjunctivitis is caused by virus, bacteria, or allergy-provoking agents, as well as to underlying diseases within the body. It is either infectious or noninfectious. From your describing about how you got your pink eye, it seems to be caused by a noninfectious condition that includes allergy-provoking agents and/or chemical irritants. Frequent causes of an allergic pink eye include seasonal pollens, animal dander and dust. Other causes may be chemical-related such as smoke, smog, household cleaners or sprays of any kind. Do you have accompanied symptoms such as intense itching, tearing and swelling of the eye membranes, but pain is minimal or absent? For allergy type, cold, moist washcloths applying to the eyes or cool water pouring over the face and over-the-counter eyedrops can provide relief in mild cases. In more severe cases, your doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines. Conjunctivitis due to chemicals is treated via irrigation with Ringer's lactate or saline solution. That said, my advice should not be a substitute for seeking the advice of and treatment by a health-care practitioner, as some of the common household products such as bleach and furniture polish can be very damaging to the eyes. Please visit a primary care doctor soon.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.