Conjunctivitis: is it contagious or not?

Conjunctivitis is one of the most common diseases among the adult population of the world. In order to understand whether it is contagious, you need to know its form. The probability of infection depends on the factor that triggered the appearance of conjunctivitis.

According to statistics, in eighty percent of cases, conjunctivitis in adults is triggered by adenovirus.


  • 1What it is
  • 2Causes
  • 3Symptoms
  • 4Diagnostics
  • 5Treatment
    • 5.1Complications
    • 5.2Prevention
  • 6Video
  • 7conclusions

What it is

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva or mucous membrane of the eye.

The conjunctiva is a transparent film covering the posterior surface of the eyelids and the anterior part of the eye.It produces some important components of lacrimal secretion and protects the eyes from germs and foreign particles.

The factors that cause the onset of this disease can be different.Depending on this, the following types of conjunctivitis are distinguished:

  • Viral;
  • Herpetic;
  • Bacterial;
  • Toxic;
  • Chlamydial;
  • Acute;
  • Chronic.

Experts have proved that chronic and allergic conjunctivitis are not contagious. But conjunctivitis, provoked by bacteria or viruses, can be transmitted from person to person. These are the two most dangerous forms of the disease.

Let us consider these four types of inflammation of the conjunctiva:

  1. Allergic conjunctivitis.It develops due to the contact of the body with any allergen, but it is completely non-contagious. Allergic conjunctivitis is accompanied by inflammation of the eye mucosa, redness and swelling, pain, itching and cutting. When the conjunctiva is inflamed, it becomes very vulnerable, so a secondary infection can be added to the inflammation.
  2. Chronic conjunctivitis.This form is characterized by a slow course and usually affects both eyes at once. Chronic conjunctivitis provokes such irritants as smoke, dust, chemical reagents, and also lack of vitamins in the body, problems with metabolism, chronic diseases of nasal and lacrimal ways. It is accompanied by itching, a negative reaction to light, increased eye fatigue and other unpleasant sensations.
  3. Bacterial conjunctivitis.It is provoked by pyogenic bacteria, which produce a thick discharge of gray or yellow. The main sign of bacterial conjunctivitis is dryness of the skin around the eyes. This form is also accompanied by pain, profuse lachrymation, redness, a sense of presence in the eye of a foreign body.
  4. Viral conjunctivitis.In most cases, it is provoked by adenovirus and is associated with infection of the upper respiratory tract. It often occurs during the cold and is characterized by irritation and redness, itching, discharge (but not purulent), the appearance of follicles. Viral conjunctivitis is transmitted by airborne droplets and is an epidemic.


There are a number of common reasons for inflammation of the conjunctiva. These include:

  • Bacterial, chlamydial, viral infections and fungi that hit the eye.You can get infected through dirty hands, overdue cosmetics, while swimming in polluted water bodies.

Infection can get through the blood, while a person is sick with ARVI, smallpox, or measles.

  • Allergic reactions to any kind of irritants, for example, pollen of flowers.
  • Long-acting stimuli, for example, smoke and dust.
  • Ultraviolet radiation.
  • High sensitivity to some medications.
  • Neglect of the rules of care for contact lenses and their use.
  • Excessive overwork of the organs of vision or their hypothermia.
  • Pathologies of vision (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism).
  • Lack of vitamins and metabolic disorders.
  • Chronic diseases.
  • Syndrome of "dry eye".
Characteristics of allergic conjunctivitis


Common symptoms common to all forms of conjunctivitis:

  1. Edema of the eyelids;
  2. Redness;
  3. Burning and itching;
  4. Abundant flow of tears;
  5. Sensation of foreign body;
  6. Discharge of mucus or pus.

With conjunctivitis, because of the purulent or mucous discharge in the morning, eyelids can sometimes stick together.

Sometimes a person complains of decreased vision, weakness, headache.Lymph nodes may increase. Features of the course of different forms of conjunctivitis:

  • Bacterial conjunctivitisaccompanied by the release of pus.
  • Pneumococcal conjunctivitisoccurs with symptoms such as the formation of white films, redness of the conjunctiva, infiltrates on the cornea.
  • Acute epidemic conjunctivitischaracterized by the formation on the surface of the conjunctiva of large and small foci of hemorrhages, abundant release of mucus and pus.
  • Viral conjunctivitisaccompanied by the release of mucus, the formation of conjunctiva follicles.
  • Adenoviral conjunctivitischaracterized by the appearance of edema and follicles. The cornea can be affected. Sometimes conjunctiva form thin films.
  • Allergic conjunctivitisaccompanied by edema of the conjunctiva, itching and burning, abundant flow of tears.


To diagnose conjunctivitis, the physician looks for the symptoms corresponding to this disease, or for a more accurate determination of the cause, he takes a smear or a conjunctiva culture for a laboratory examination.Usually, in order to make a diagnosis, it is enough to examine the patient's eyes on the slit lamp. No less important procedure is the collection of information or anamnesis (symptoms, their sequence, etc.).

If there are any concomitant manifestations from other organs, blood delivery, fluorography, lung X-rays and so on can be prescribed.


Self-medication can not be prescribed, as some of them are aimed only at eliminating the symptoms of eye conjunctivitis, and not in fighting the pathogen.

Treatment depends on the nature of conjunctivitis:

  • If conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria, then it is treated with drops and ointments with antibiotics.
  • Viral conjunctivitisIt is treated with antiviral ointments and drops, which include interferons or interferonogens, as well as multivitamins that increase immunity.
  • Treatment of allergic conjunctivitisis aimed at eliminating the allergen, so antihistamines or corticosteroids are prescribed.
Treatment of conjunctivitis with drops


Infectious conjunctivitis is very dangerous for its complications. If his appearance provoked sexually transmitted infections, for example, chlamydia, then its possible consequences could be:

  • MeningitisIs an infection of the brain membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord.
  • SepsisIs the infection of blood. It occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream and begin to affect the tissues of the body.
  • Average otitis mediaIs an infection of the ear. Usually it occurs in children, but very rarely. In particular, otitis media occurs with conjunctivitis caused by a hemophilic bacterium of the influenza virus.
  • PneumoniaIs pneumonia. It is caused by chlamydia, and is very dangerous for life.


As it was said earlier, conjunctivitis transmitted by airborne droplets and through personal hygiene means is a contagious disease.If you follow preventive measures, you can avoid infection. For this you need:

  1. Wash your hands often;
  2. Use only your own towels and hygiene products;
  3. Use disposable napkins, not handkerchiefs;
  4. Do not rub your eyes with dirty hands;
  5. Avoid contact with patients with conjunctivitis;
  6. Protect eyes from the sun;
  7. Strengthen immunity.



Infectious conjunctivitis is very easy to get infected. Therefore, you should follow the rules of hygiene and avoid close contact with patients. If the infection could not be avoided, then you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Only a specialist can prescribe the correct treatment aimed at combating the pathogen. In this case, you can be cured of conjunctivitis in a short time and avoid serious complications.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Pellentesque Dui, Non Felis. Maecenas Male