Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

Please read our important medical disclaimer.

Question:
After getting diagnosed with conjunctivitis, how long do I have to wait to wear new makeup so it won't spread to my eyes again?

Answer:
It depends on the cause of the conjunctivitis. Three main forms of conjunctivitis are present and include bacterial, viral, and allergic conjunctivitis. I am presuming you had the infectious form of conjunctivitis.

If it was diagnosed as a bacterial conjunctivitis and you were placed on a topical antibiotic, I would suggest waiting two weeks to return to makeup and would throw away all old makeup. Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious and while a number of viruses cause this type, the most common and worrisome form is referred to as epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC). It is also commonly referred to as "pink eye" and is caused by adenovirus. This infection is extremely contagious and typically affects both eyes. Drops do not help this form and the eye has significant purulent drainage and severe swelling and redness. It typically takes this form of conjunctivitis two to four weeks to resolve and after the initial two weeks, you are no longer infectious, but the eye may continue to be red and uncomfortable out to one month. This form can also cause inflammation on the covering of the eye, known as the cornea. I would wait at least two weeks for makeup application but would wait longer if the eye remained red and uncomfortable or if the virus caused inflammation in the cornea. Your eye doctor can tell you what type you had and whether the infection involved your cornea.

Answered by: W. Barry Lee, MDDr. W. Barry Lee

Categories: Eye Conditions; General Eye Health

Have a question that hasn't been answered yet? Ask it!

Answered: Apr 24, 2012

Pop needs to be configured.