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Why Pink Eye is More Common In Winter

May 23, 2023
Why Pink Eye is More Common In Winter
A clear membrane that covers the surface of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelid, the conjunctiva’s blood vessels can become irritated and swollen through infection. This swelling gives the condition its colorful name -- pink eye.

Though in Texas, we’re coming out of pink eye season -- it’s more common in the winter months -- it doesn’t mean that the condition called conjunctivitis disappears for the rest of the year. Caused by irritation and inflammation of a transparent membrane coating the eyeball and inner eyelid, pink eye can start for many reasons, and some of these aren’t seasonal. 

While pink eye is an irritating condition, it’s not serious and rarely affects your eyesight. It can resemble other eye conditions, some of which can jeopardize your vision, so it’s smart to seek an early diagnosis rather than assuming you have pink eye. 

Contact us at Refresh Wellness in Garland, Texas, to confirm your eye condition is conjunctivitis. It’s more common in the winter, so spring and summer symptoms are suspicious and worth extra caution. We’re conjunctivitis specialists, so get in touch as soon as your symptoms start. 

Pink eye 101

It’s easy to recognize pink eye since it describes the dominant symptom. It can affect both eyes or just one, and the affected eyes will be itchy while feeling gritty. Your eye may be wet from tears, and a discharge may get crusty overnight. You might need to soak your eye with a wet washcloth to open it in the morning or, in general, to feel comfortable. 

In most cases, pink eye results from a viral infection and must run its course, which can take up to three weeks. Sometimes, bacteria are behind the infection, and there are other versions of conjunctivitis triggered by allergies, foreign objects, or chemical splashes. Newborns may have pink eye because of a blocked tear duct. 

Transmitting the disease

Since viruses are the most common cause of pink eye, most people with the condition are contagious through part of their illness. The primary means of transmission is direct contact with the virus, and the pink eye is about as contagious as a common cold. It’s common for pink eye to start in one eye and spread to the other. 

You can avoid conjunctivitis infection in the same way as you avoid colds, using strategies such as: 

  • Frequent hand washing and sanitizing
  • No sharing of washcloths or towels
  • Using new washcloths and towels daily, with frequent laundering
  • Avoiding hand-to-eye contact
  • Frequent bedding changes, particularly pillowcases
  • No sharing of eye cosmetics
  • Discarding eye cosmetics, like mascara, that may be contaminated

Avoiding close contact with other people can slow the spread of your pink eye condition. Practicing careful hygiene can reduce the risk to others. 

Why pink eye is more common in winter

Conjunctivitis flourishes in the winter for the same reason colds, flu, and COVID-19 can. You’re more frequently in close contact with people in enclosed spaces. The virus is robust enough to survive on surfaces that can contaminate your hands and transfer to your eyes by contact. 

Being indoors means less exposure to sunlight and its vitamin D-boosting effects. This can lower immune system activity and make you more susceptible to infection. 

We can diagnose the condition, rule out other eye problems, and recommend treatments to ease conjunctivitis symptoms. Call or click to contact us at Refresh Wellness at the first sign of pink eye.