Eye infections can be contagious, with some types being more contagious than others. Knowing what type of eye infection is contagious and how to respond can help keep you from spreading infection or catching an infection from another person.
Are Eye Infections Contagious?
Put simply: yes, if an eye infection is a contagious strain, it can be transferred from one person to another.
The most common method of transfer is using products or items that go in or around the eyes and sharing them with another person while one person is infected. A good example might be sharing makeup when one person is infected and the other is not. Glasses and eye drops can also transfer infection from one person to another.
Yet another common way that infection is transferred is through the infected person rubbing or touching their eyes then touching a hard surface that is then touched by someone that is not infected. It is necessary for the bacteria from the infection to pass from one person to the other in order for the infection to transfer as well.
Common Eye Infections
Pink eye: One of the most common eye infections that most people have had or have had experience with at some point or other is pink eye. Pink eye or conjunctivitis is a very contagious infection that is caused by bacteria. It is very easy to transfer from one person to another, and it is very common with children. Since children do tend to get pink eye rather easily, they also tend to touch their eyes often, and therefore it is easy to spread from one child to another.
Keratitis and Uveitis: Infections like keratitis are caused by bacteria in the water that you are using and can cause redness and painful swelling. Uveitis is a common eye inflammation and fungal eye infections are also possible. These infections are contagious and can be spread from one person to another.
Stye: Another infection you might see is a stye. This is an infection that often follows a blocked oil gland and causes a painful red bump that often self regulates. A stye, though it is an infection, it is not contagious.
Allergic: Infections caused by allergens are fairly common; fortunately these types are not contagious.
How to Avoid SPreading Eye Infections
It's so important, especially if you live with others, to ensure you're taking precautions against spreading your eye infection. A few simple ways to avoid spreading your infection include:
- Wash your hands! This is one of the simplest yet most crucial things to help stop the spread. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, especially after touching your eyes
- Don't share eye drops, makeup, washcloths, or towels—anything that comes into contact with your face
- Use separate pillowcases and sheets, and wash them often
- Stay home when possible—children, in particular, should stay in while their infection clears up
How to Avoid Getting Eye Infections from Others
The same rules as above apply, namely, avoid using the same items as someone with an eye infection, and wash your hands regularly. Additionally, you should be extra careful with your own eye care: take good care of your contacts, disinfect your glasses, and wash anything that comes into contact with your face (like washcloths, pillow cases, and so forth). Never share makeup or eye drops. You should also get into the habit of not touching your face and eyes—good advice whether you're living with someone who has an infection or not.
How to Get Treatment for an Eye Infection
If you are dealing with an eye infection, it is always a good idea to talk with a professional eye care specialist or doctor to help treat your eye infection and evaluate your overall eye health. Your eyes are very delicate and infection in the eye can lead to permanent damage if not treated properly and not cared for properly. Take the time to speak with a professional to care for your eye issues by scheduling your appointment with Gem State Eyecare today!