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Can You Get Pink Eye From a Fart?

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A man in a pink shirt with red and pink eyes, holding his head in pain while holding onto a Kleenex tissue in his left hand

Let’s get this out of the way: we’ll be talking about farts a lot, so let’s try to keep it civil.

Can you get pink eye from a fart? Can a friend’s mistimed prank with your pillow leave you scratching your eye? It’s a question brought up many times throughout TV and film.

No. It’s as simple as that; farts don’t cause pink eye.

Your optometrist can typically diagnose your pink eye with an eye exam. But pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a common condition that affects many people. It’s caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane covering the eye’s white part and the eyelid’s inside.

Farts don’t cause pink eye, but what does? And what can you do to protect your eyes?

What is Conjunctivitis & What Does it Have To Do With Farts?

Conjunctivitis can affect both children and adults. Various factors, such as viral or bacterial infections and allergies, can cause it.

You can’t get pink eye from farts because farts are mostly methane gas. While methane gas can smell bad, it doesn’t release any pathogens or irritants necessary to cause pink eye. Any bacteria that is present would die once it leaves the body.

Why do people think farts could cause pink eye? Because it’s not far off. Farts can’t cause pink eye, but poop can. Fecal matter does contain the bacteria that could cause pink eye, and an unintended transfer of this material could leave you in a bad situation.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

Pink eye symptoms could range from mild to severe and last from a few days to a few weeks. While there are different types of pink eye, the most common symptoms include the following:

  • Redness or pinkness
  • Itching or burning
  • Swelling
  • Watery eyes
  • Feeling like something is in your eye
  • Stringy mucus discharge
  • Eyelids or lashes crusting
  • If you wear contact lenses, they may feel uncomfortable and not stay in place.

Pink eye typically occurs in three types, which can have their own symptoms.

Viral conjunctivitis can happen at the same time as cold or flu symptoms. It usually begins in one eye before spreading to the other in a few days and has a watery discharge rather than a thick one.

Pus discharges are more likely with bacterial conjunctivitis. It can also occur alongside an ear infection.

Allergic conjunctivitis is precisely what it sounds like. It typically happens with other allergy symptoms and can produce intense itchiness and watery eyes. It also usually occurs in both eyes.

Note that conjunctivitis can also happen due to irritants or chemicals, such as smoke or chlorine, which will usually cause watery eyes and mucus discharge.

A woman squinting and touching her left eye due to pain and redness

Causes of Pink Eye

Each of the several different types of pink eye has its own specific causes and treatment options

Causes of Viral Conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type of pink eye. It’s usually caused by a virus such as the common cold virus. You can be infected if someone with the cold coughs or sneezes close to you or you blow your nose too hard and push the infection into your eyes. Crowded places, such as schools or worksites, can easily transfer it between people.

Causes of Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus or streptococcus pneumoniae are the primary cause of bacterial pink eye. Like viral conjunctivitis, it’s highly contagious and typically occurs through direct contact with someone who already has pink eye.

Causes of Allergic Conjunctivitis

An allergic reaction to something such as pollen, dust, or animal dander causes allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious, as you’ll have to come in direct contact with an allergen.

It’s possible for contact lenses to cause a type of allergic pink eye called giant papillary conjunctivitis. This condition can happen if you wear hard contact lenses or don’t dispose your soft contact lenses as prescribed.

Treating Pink Eye

The proper treatment for your pink eye will depend on what’s causing it. So always consult your eye doctor to diagnose what kind of pink eye you have. They can also test to ensure your vision hasn’t been affected and there’s been no damage to your eye.

Treatments for Viral Conjunctivitis

Since the common cold causes viral pink eye, it should resolve itself at the same time the cold does. Though, in rare cases, this type of pink eye can be caused by another virus, such as herpes, which could require antiviral treatments.

You can use a warm compress or a warm, wet cloth to soothe your symptoms in the meantime.

Treatments for Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Antibiotics are the most common treatment for bacterial pink eye. Your doctor could offer this treatment as eye drops or ointments. With proper application, you should see your symptoms disappear in a few days, though it’s suggested you finish your entire prescriptions to prevent the pink eye from returning.

Treatment for Allergic Conjunctivitis

If you take antihistamines for your allergy symptoms, it could also help prevent allergic pink eye. If over-the-counter medications aren’t working, you may be prescribed antihistamine or anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Treatment for Chemical/Irritant Conjunctivitis

Typically you can lessen the symptoms of chemical conjunctivitis with a saline rinse on your eye. If the case is severe enough, it might require a prescription for topical steroids.

Good Hygiene and Clear Vision

Practicing good hygiene by washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your eyes or sharing personal items such as towels or makeup is the best way to prevent the spread of pink eye. If you suspect you have pink eye, contact our team at York Mills Eye Care for a thorough diagnosis and expert treatment.

Written by York Mills Eye Care

York Mills Eye Care is your one-stop shop for everything your eyes need. We specialize in providing technologically advanced eye exams, eye disease diagnosis, and management solutions, and beautiful eyewear products to enhance your vision and style. Quality eye care is about having the right team by your side, and you can start your journey today at York Mills Eye Care.
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