Contact Lenses & Conjunctivitis

Part of safely using your contact lenses is knowing when and when not to wear them. Conjunctivitis is a relatively commonly occurring eye condition, and if you are uncertain what to do with your contacts if you suffer from conjunctivitis, then read on!

What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, describes an inflammation of the covering of your eye and inner eyelid called the conjunctiva. It actually occurs in two different forms, infective and allergic. The former is caused by any kind of infection by a foreign agent like a virus or bacterium. This form of the condition is highly contagious and easily spread by contact from person to person by means of a discharge that can range from white to green in colour.

Allergic conjunctivitis is a response to naturally occurring allergens, the most common of which are pollen and dust. An allergic reaction is basically an over reaction of the body’s immune system to specific substances, and the result is the typical itchiness and wateriness of an eye suffering from allergic conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis does not tend to have any long term effects, only very rarely does infective conjunctivitis cause damage to the clear part of the eye called the cornea. Typically the condition clears up quite quickly on its own, although some GPs might recommend you use antibiotic drops for the infectious variant of the condition.

Should I wear contact lenses if I suffer from conjunctivitis?

You should not wear contact lenses if you experience any of the typical symptoms of conjunctivitis. These include itchiness (more so in the allergic version), any discharge, and a pink or reddish appearance of the white conjunctiva of your eye. A contact lens can trap any infectious bacteria or viruses which will accumulate and exacerbate the condition.

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