Sep 1, 2008 - ..Children, Health & Fitness, Myths & Facts    2 Comments    10,065 views

Can you get pink eye by looking at someone’s eyes?

Kids ASK! about Myths & Facts

Back in my school days, whenever a kid turned up for school wearing sunglasses, we knew immediately to avoid that person. Whispers and rumours were spread that we should not look at that kid’s eyes for any reason and avoid all contact as well. Even one quick glance into his or her eyes would assure anyone of being in the same boat with the poor kid.

So, is this medical condition, conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, really spread from human to human, with just one rapid look into the infected eye?

“A child can get pinkeye by touching an infected person or something an infected person has touched, such as a used tissue. In the summertime, pinkeye can spread when kids swim in contaminated water or share contaminated towels. It also can be spread through coughing and sneezing. Doctors usually recommend keeping kids diagnosed with contagious conjunctivitis out of school, day care, or summer camp for a short time.

Someone who has pinkeye in one eye can also inadvertently spread it to the other eye by touching the infected eye, then touching the other one.”
Source: (2007, January). Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis). Retrieved September 1, 2008, from KidsHealth Web site:

So, as long as there’s no direct contact with the infected eye, water droplets or nasal fluids, spreading of the pinkeye condition will not occur.

For more information, here are some recommended library books on eyes:

Sight by Mandy Suhr
Publisher: London : Wayland, 2007
Call No.: J P 612.8 SUH

Eyes : injury, illness and health by Carol Ballard
Publisher: Oxford : Heinemann Library, c2003
Call No.: Y 612.84 BAL

Why do my eyes itch? and other questions about allergies by Angela Royston.
Publisher: Oxford : Heinemann Library, 2002
Call No.: J 612.8 ROY

Eyes and ears by Seymour Simon
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c2003
Summary: Describes the anatomy of the eye and ear, how those organs function and some ways in which they may malfunction, and how the brain is also involved in our seeing and hearing.
Call No.: J 612.8 SIM

All websites were last accessed on 1 September 2008. Please check the websites’ homepages for the terms and conditions of use. All book summaries were taken from the book descriptions. All images were extracted from and

For the availability of the above book titles, please check the library catalogue.

Liz_ASK_Pic.JPGAnswered and posted by Ms Elizabeth Lee
Children’s Librarian
Children’s Services

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  • Good article on pink eye. Many people are now aware how easily pink eye can spread and this article’s title has a good ideal. The site has more information on the eye problem.

  • Thanks, anne, for the link. It certainly sheds more light on this eye condition.

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