Avoid wearing contacts if you have pink eye. Using the same pair of contacts can reinfect yourself after pink eye recovery.

Pink eye is another name for conjunctivitis, an infection that causes inflammation and pain in the moist tissue layer covering the inside of your eyelid and eyeball.

No matter the cause, pink eye can make it nearly impossible to wear contact lenses during the time you have this eye infection.

This article explains more about why you should consider not wearing your contact lenses if you have pink eye, as well as other activities you may want to avoid when dealing with this eye problem.

Stop wearing your contacts whenever you are experiencing eye irritation or pain, but especially if you develop any kind of eye infection — including pink eye.

Contact lenses rest on the surface of your eye. They interact with the conjunctiva every time you blink, including when your eye is irritated and inflamed from pink eye. This interaction can spread the infection.

On their own, contact lenses can sometimes irritate your eyes, so it’s important to remove your contact lenses anytime you experience eye problems or infections.

Serious eye infections are linked to blindness in about 1 in 500 people who wear contact lenses each year.

Knowing how to clean and wear your contacts properly is important to maintaining good eye health. You can talk with your eye doctor to learn proper hygiene habits or get a refresher on best practices.

As a rule, it’s best to leave your contacts out if your eyes are irritated or infected. Also give your eyes a break from wearing contacts from time to time. Avoid sleeping with them in, too.

If you have a mild case of pink eye, or your infection is mostly cleared and you want to engage in an activity, like running or sports, that would be easiest with contacts instead of glasses, you can try wearing your contact lenses for a limited about of time.

Remove the contacts if your eyes hurt or become more irritated. People who wear disposable contact lenses can insert fresh contacts to avoid spreading the infection or reinfecting a healed eye.

Other contact lenses need to be thoroughly disinfected before putting them into your eye.

If you develop pink eye, healthcare professionals advise that most of the time you should stop wearing your contact lenses.

Keep your contact lenses out and use your regular eyeglasses until your infection and any eye irritation are completely resolved.

If you decide to see a healthcare professional for pink eye treatment, ask them when it’s safe for you to start wearing contacts again.

Pink eye is very contagious, so do not continue to wear the lenses you were wearing when your conjunctivitis developed.

Most people who wear contact lenses use soft, disposable lenses. It’s best to throw them away if you have pink eye and start with a new pair of contacts once your infection clears.

Discard and replace the following products after a pink eye infection:

  • contacts case
  • contact solution
  • eye drops
  • eye makeup

Different types of contact lenses may react differently to various medications, eye drops, and other solutions you might use to clean your contacts or soothe your eyes.

It’s a good idea to know what the contact lenses you wear are made of, and what types of solutions or medications to avoid.

If your doctor prescribes medicated eye drops or ointments for pink eye or any other type of eye infection, ask them when it’s safe to start wearing your contact lenses again.

Most cases of pink eye will resolve in 2 or 3 weeks with or without treatment. If your pink eye isn’t getting better or is getting worse even after treatment, call your doctor.

Also call your doctor or an eye specialist if you develop the following symptoms with a pink eye infection:

If you have a weakened immune system and develop pink eye, reach out to your doctor for treatment and monitoring as well.

Contact lenses sit on the surface of your eye. Wearing them when you have any eye irritation or infection, including pink eye, is not recommended.

Severe eye infections have been known to lead to vision loss in people who wear contacts. Pink eye is highly contagious, so it’s possible to reinfect yourself even after the infection clears if you reuse the same lenses.