Many adults wonder if they can get pink eye from their children, as this condition is often passed around at elementary schools. The answer is that adults can in fact get pink eye, which is also called conjunctivitis, and the symptoms of pink eye in adults are the same as the ones in children. They vary slightly depending on whether it is viral or bacterial, but both are uncomfortable as well as contagious, so stay home from work if you think you have pink eye.
Both viral and bacterial pink eye cases often start with the whites of the eyes turning red, as well as the eyelids. This is usually closely followed by an irritated, itchy feeling. Crust may soon appear on the eyelids, especially just after waking up, as this is simply discharge that has dried overnight.
While both viral and bacterial pink eye come with discharge, they often look different. Viral pink eye usually features clear discharge, and this variety of conjunctivitis usually only shows up in one eye, which makes it important for you to wash your hands before touching the unaffected eye. Excessive watering usually also occurs.
On the other hand, bacterial pink eye typically occurs in both eyes at the same time. Additionally, the discharge is often green or yellow, and can cause the eyes to stick shut in the mornings. It often feels like there is something in the eye, such as an eyelash or dirt, which can make the eyes feel irritated and water excessively.
Symptoms of Other Types
The symptoms of pink eye in adults are a bit different when the conjunctivitis is caused by allergies rather than a virus or bacteria. For example, while there is still discharge, redness, and itchiness with allergic conjunctivitis, you will notice that your nose is also affected. It will likely feel stuffy or be runny, just like either a cold or allergies. This kind of pink eye is not contagious, but you should still see a doctor to be treated for it.