No, wearing contacts with pink eye (conjunctivitis) is not advised. With any type of active eye infection, an eye doctor will always recommend that you avoid touching and rubbing your eyes and that you stop wearing contact lenses immediately. You can wear glasses in the meantime.

We know—this probably isn’t the answer you were hoping for, is it? Even though it may be tempting to turn a deaf ear, it’s important to consult with your eye doctor on any eye-related concerns and always follow their advice to the letter.

To help make the “no” pill a smidge easier to swallow, this article will explain the why behind it. We’ll also discuss when you can resume wearing contacts and how to do so safely.

What Happens If You Wear Contacts With Pink Eye?

There are two main reasons to avoid wearing contacts with pink eye: 

  • It could spread infection. When you touch an infected eye, you risk spreading it to the other eye or even to other people.
  • It could increase irritation. Eyes infected with conjunctivitis are irritated and inflamed. Wearing contact lenses can make those symptoms worse and prolong your condition.
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When Can You Wear Contacts After Pink Eye?

After having pink eye, you shouldn’t start wearing contact lenses again until your eye doctor says you can. Typically, they’ll say to wait until all symptoms are gone and any medications are finished.

Can You Wear the Same Contacts After Pink Eye?

If you wear biweekly or monthly disposable contacts, do NOT wear the same lenses you were using when you first got pink eye. Throw those away, and start with a new pair. The same goes for your storage case and contact solution, too—be sure to toss those and start fresh.

Your lenses, case, and solution could all potentially be contaminated with infectious bacteria. Using new products will help prevent a repeat infection.

How To Disinfect Contacts After Pink Eye

Soft, disposable contact lenses are most common, but if your contacts aren’t disposable, don’t panic—you’ll just need to be super thorough in cleaning them. Be sure to follow all directions from both the manufacturer and your eye doctor. If possible, use a new bottle of cleaner/solution and a new storage case, too.

Pink Eye and Contacts Don’t Mix

Just remember: As tempting as it might be to go back to your trusty contacts as your pink eye symptoms begin to ease up, it’s best to wait. If you haven’t yet visited your eye doctor, be sure to make an appointment to get an expert evaluation.

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