Health Care

Can You Swim With Pink Eye?

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Green is gross, but what about pink? You may never forget the first time it happened to you, either in your own eyes or one of your kids: the dreaded pink eye. Doctors call it conjunctivitis, but moms know it as crusty eyes and crying kids who don’t understand what is happening. Keep reading to learn more about pink eye, common questions and next steps.

Can You Swim With Pink Eye?

Swimming with pink eye is not recommended, especially if the pink eye is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Swimming in pools, hot tubs or natural bodies of water while you have an active pink eye infection can spread the infection to others and worsen your symptoms.

Can You Get Pink Eye From Swimming?

You can get pink eye from swimming, especially if the water you're swimming in is contaminated or if proper hygiene practices aren't followed. While swimming doesn't directly cause pink eye, certain factors associated with swimming environments can increase the risk of eye infection.

Swimmers Eye vs. Pink Eye

"Swimmer's eye" and "pink eye" are sometimes used interchangeably, but they can refer to slightly different conditions related to the eyes and swimming.

Swimmer's Eye: Swimmer's eye is not a medical term but is often used to describe a condition known as "swimming pool conjunctivitis" or "chlorine conjunctivitis." It refers to irritation and redness of the eyes that can occur after swimming in chlorinated pools. The chlorine and other pool chemicals can disrupt the tear film and cause temporary eye discomfort, redness and irritation. This condition is not caused by an infection and is not contagious like pink eye.

Pink Eye: Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelids. It can cause the eye to appear pink or red, hence the name "pink eye."

Types of Pink Eye and Their Causes

Viral Conjunctivitis: This is the most common type of pink eye. It is usually caused by viruses similar to those that cause the common cold. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can spread through contact with infected eye secretions.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Bacterial infections can also lead to pink eye. Common bacteria responsible for this type of conjunctivitis include Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Bacterial conjunctivitis is also contagious.

Allergic Conjunctivitis: Allergies to pollen, dust, pet dander or other allergens can cause the eyes to become red, itchy and watery. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious and usually affects both eyes.

Irritant Conjunctivitis: Exposure to irritants like smoke, chemicals or foreign objects can lead to redness and eye irritation. This type of conjunctivitis is also not contagious.

Pink Eye Symptoms Include:

  • Discolored drainage or matting of the eyelashes
  • Itching and burning
  • Red and swollen eyelids
  • Redness in the whites of the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tears

Treating Pink Eye

If you suspect you or one of your children have pink eye, there are a few things AdventHealth Centra Care physicians recommend:

  • Change pillowcases frequently
  • Do not share towels
  • Don’t rub or touch your eyes; it could spread to both eyes
  • If you wear contact lenses, stop wearing the contacts and either sanitize the lens or throw it out if it is a disposable lens
  • If you wear makeup, wash and disinfect your makeup brushes and discard any eye makeup that may have become contaminated
  • Remember to wash your hands often – pink eye is easily spreadable

Only a doctor can determine if you or your child need an antibiotic to heal pink eye. Visit your nearest AdventHealth Centra Care if you suspect you or a family member has been infected.

Common Pink Eye Questions:

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Is pink eye contagious?

Yes, depending on the cause. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious and can spread through direct contact with infected eye secretions or surfaces that have been contaminated.

Can I treat pink eye at home?

While some cases of pink eye may resolve on their own, it's important to consult a health care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Home remedies, like warm compresses and artificial tears, can provide relief, but bacterial infections, for example, may require prescription treatment.

Can I go to work or school with pink eye?

If you have pink eye, especially if it's infectious, it's recommended to stay home until the symptoms improve or until you've completed a certain period of treatment (if prescribed antibiotics). Doing so helps prevent spreading the infection to others.

Can pink eye cause permanent damage to my eyesight?

In most cases, pink eye does not cause permanent damage to eyesight. However, certain severe infections could lead to complications, particularly if left untreated. Seeking prompt medical attention is important to prevent any potential complications.

Visit Us at AdventHealth Centra Care

If you're experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of pink eye, don't wait to seek relief. Our dedicated team of medical professionals at AdventHealth Centra Care is here to provide you with prompt and effective pink eye treatment. Whether your pink eye is caused by a virus, bacteria, allergies or irritants, we're equipped to diagnose the root cause and offer tailored solutions to alleviate your discomfort. Visit us today for compassionate care and expert guidance on managing pink eye.

We believe health should be measured in terms of the whole person — body, mind and spirit. It’s our mission and promise to help you feel whole through compassionate care and world-class expertise. Open seven days a week, with evening hours, our walk-in clinics are located in Central Florida, Tampa, Kansas and North Carolina. Walk-ins are always welcome, or make an online reservation.

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