When it comes to conjunctivitis or pink eye, many people start to panic. It is not like it is the worst thing that could ever happen to a person, but it is contagious, and many people do treat it like the plague. However, the more educated you are on conjunctivitis, the less you will fear, and the easier life will be if you have contracted it.
Some people believe that their contacts may be the cause of conjunctivitis. Truth be told, while the contact lenses are never the sole cause, they can be a method of transport for the viral infection that traveled to your eyes and can re-infect your eyes, although it is not likely that they will be the initial cause of pink eye.
What is Conjunctivitis?
Even though it is painful and possibly even embarrassing, you can rest peacefully knowing that this is the most common eye infection and it is one that is very easy to treat. This is inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the tissue found inside the eyelids that helps the eyeball and the eyelid moist. Bacteria, viruses, and substances such as chlorine from the pool, shampoo, smoke, and dirt can cause conjunctivitis.
If you have pink eye or conjunctivitis, you will experience redness in the whites of your eye, and you will produce a larger than normal amount of tears. There could be a yellow, white or green discharge from your eyes. Your eyes may also itch or burn and you will most likely have a sensitivity to bright light.
How Do Contact Lenses Play a Part?
Now, you might have heard that people must throw out their contact lenses that they were using. Why is this? Well, if you picked up conjunctivitis from something else and you have been wearing contact lenses, the contacts you have been wearing are now contaminated. While treating your eye infection, you will want to wear eyeglasses or simply go without any corrective lenses.
Putting contact lenses in your eyes while treating pink eye will only irritate your eyes more and re-infect your eyes. Once the pink eye is gone, you need to put in a brand new pair of contact lenses. Even if you used contact lens cleaner, you could not re-use the same pair unless you want to be infected again.
So technically, no, your own contact lenses will not usually be the cause of your initial conjunctivitis infection, but they can re-infect your eyes with it, should you use the same pair after you have cleared the infection out of your eyes.
If there is a rare case where you allowed someone else to touch or use your contact lenses, which you should never do, and they transferred the bacteria to your lenses, then yes, you could receive pink eye that way. Of course, it is still not the contact lenses themselves that caused the inflammation and infection, but rather the transfer of the bacteria from someone else to something you use and stick in your eye. It would be the same if you shook hands with someone with a pink eye and then rubbed your eyes. You will most likely end up with conjunctivitis.
Get Better And Do Not Re-Infect
During your treatment, you want to make sure that you are avoiding people and keep your hands washed. Do not touch your eye and do not use contact lenses during that time because you could make the situation worse for yourself.
Never reuse any contacts that were in your eye before treatment was received and finished. Throw out any eye drops or anything else that may have made direct contact with your eyes. These items could end up re-infecting you and anyone else that uses them. The more careful you are, the less likely you will be to re-infect yourself or to infect someone else.