Viral conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is a highly contagious infection of the eye caused by viruses. To stay safe from viral conjunctivitis and prevent its spread, consider the following precautions:

  • Wash hands often, using soap and water.
  • Help children with hand washing if they are unable to perform this thoroughly on their own.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after touching someone with pink eye or their personal items.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
  • Avoid touching other people's faces.
  • Avoid sharing personal items, such towels, handkerchiefs, contact lenses 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.
  • Stay home from work or school until your eyes are no longer red and tearing.

Not all cases of pink eye are due to common viruses. Allergies, irritants, bacteria, fungi and uncommon viruses may cause pink eye. Professional medical expertise is required to distinguish these causes, as the treatment as well as outcomes for untreated cases can be vastly different. While the majority of cases of uncomplicated viral conjunctivitis resolves without permanent damage, scarring and loss of vision may occur in severe or unusual cases.