Can I Get Pink Eye in Both Eyes?

August 21, 2023

So you've been wondering - can a person really end up with pink eye in both eyes simultaneously? Yeah, having conjunctivitis in both your eyes is totally a thing. Let me explain.

We've all had the classic symptoms of pink eye before - one eye is all red and irritated, itchy, teary, etc. And while that sucks, in your mind, you’re probably thinking, "at least it's just that one eye, no biggie." But the truth is, these eye infections have a sneaky way of spreading between eyes pretty easily. See, we touch both eyes all the time without even noticing it, especially when we rub those little itches we get in our eyes.

That constant contact makes it easy for pink eye-causing germs like viruses or bacteria lingering on our hands to get into the other eye and infect it too. Before you know it, you get a double dose of pink eye, with each eye looking as red and puffy as the other.

Causes And Symptoms Of Double Pink Eye

Pink eye is a common issue but what causes it? It’s certainly not anything pink, if that’s what you were wondering. Pink eye is commonly caused by adenovirus or different types of bacteria like staph and strep. Viruses tend to spread more systematically inside our bodies, so it's no surprise they can infect both eyes simultaneously. As for bacteria, our hands are always touching our eyes and other surfaces throughout the day. All it takes is a little cross-contamination between eyes to end up with a double dose of pinkness.

Besides the classic redness and irritation you'd expect, double pink eye often comes with thicker discharge, watery eyes, blurred vision, light sensitivity, swollen lids, and crusties forming overnight. The symptoms are basically magnified since it's affecting both eyes at once.

Treatment Options For Pink Eye

Pink things are usually really good things. Not pink eye though. If you get pink eye, you’d want to get rid of it fast. So what treatments are recommended? For viral pink eye, your doc will likely tell you to just wait it out and waiting it out really works a lot of the time.

Over-the-counter eye drops can also provide comfort while your immunity does its thing. If bacteria are the cause though, prescription eye drops or oral antibiotics will be needed to knock out the infection more quickly. Warm compresses and plenty of rest will also aid the healing process.

Getting Treated At An Urgent Care Center

Most times a pink eye will go away on its own after a while. But seeing an urgent care doctor is a good idea with double pink eye. They can examine both eyes under magnification to determine the cause and make sure you get the right medication plan straight away. Especially with a bacterial case, speedy treatment is important to clear it up before complications set in. You don’t want to know what color comes after pink!


While one pink eye may seem annoying on its own, contracting conjunctivitis in both eyes through cross-contamination is definitely possible. The symptoms of double pink eye tend to be exacerbated due to both eyes being infected simultaneously. Fortunately, urgent care providers are well-equipped to examine the eyes closely under magnification to diagnose the cause and prescribe an appropriate treatment regimen to effectively eliminate bacterial or viral infections as quickly as possible. Not only does prompt medical evaluation ensure accurate management, but it also prevents issues from persisting longer than needed. With proper care, bilateral pink eye cases typically clear up within a standard course of therapy to restore comfortable vision and health.

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