Can Poop Cause Pink Eye? Yes. Here’s How.

There are various myths surrounding pink eye (conjunctivitis). Some people falsely believe that pink eye is spread through the air, or that conjunctivitis spreads by looking someone with it in the eye. But when it comes to the question, “Can poop cause pink eye?”, that is a yes. 

What is pink eye?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), conjunctiva is a tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the white of the eye (the sclera). When the tissue becomes inflamed, this condition is called pink eye (medical term: conjunctivitis). Due to the inflammation, the blood vessels become more visible and the eye takes on a pinkish or reddish color. 

What causes pink eye?

There are four major causes of pink eye: 

  1. Viral infections (ex. Adenoviruses, herpes simplex)
  2. Bacterial infections (ex. Staph, streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae)
  3. Allergens (ex. Pet dander, pollen, dust mites)
  4. Irritants (ex. Chemicals, smoke, fumes, foreign bodies in the eye)

The exact cause of pink eye can be difficult to determine due to similar symptoms. However, if your pink eye is due to a viral or bacterial infection, it is VERY contagious. 

Does poop cause pink eye?

Since viral and bacterial infections are two of the major cause of conjunctivitis, the bacteria and viruses in poop can cause pink eye.

It is important to properly wash your hands with antibacterial soap after using the bathroom or coming in contact with fecal matter. 

Side note: Though you can get pink eye from feces, it can not be caused by a fart (such as the myth of farting on pillows). A fart does not contain bacteria and is primarily methane gas.

Pink eye symptoms

Common symptoms that may occur due to conjunctivitis include:

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Increased tears
  • Swelling of the sclera (white part of the eye)
  • Pain, burning, scratchiness, or itchiness (more common in cases of allergies)
  • Discharge which causes eyes to become stuck shut from crusting

Among other reasons, a doctor should be seen if you have pain, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, a weakened immune system, or if the patient is a newborn.

Pink eye treatment

Treatment of pink eye is not always necessary for cases that are mild. It usually lasts from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. If the cause of it is known, then steps can be taken to shorten the time. 

Viral Conjunctivitis – Antiviral medication is usually prescribed in more serious conditions where the pink eye is caused by the herpes simplex virus or varicella-zoster virus.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis – If treatment is necessary, the doctor may prescribe an antibacterial ointment or eye drop.

Allergic Conjunctivitis and Irritants – Removing oneself from the allergy-causing environment or taking allergy medications should improve the pink eye condition; any irritants in the surrounding should also be removed. 

Preventing Pink Eye

Pink eye prevention can be as simple as practicing good hygiene. Here are some tips to prevent contracting it and spreading the condition:

  • Properly wash your hands often with soap and warm water
  • Wash your hands before and after touching your eyes. Rubbing them can spread the infection to your other eye or to other people. 
  • Wash your bedding and toiletries after using them
  • Do not share items with anyone infected
  • Clean or replace your contact lenses as instructed by your doctor. Avoid wearing them until your doctor gives the all clear

In Summation

Does conjunctivitis spread by looking? No

Can you get pink eye from a fart? No

Can poop cause pink eye? Yes! So remember to keep up with good hygiene and wash your hands!