Can You Get A Cold In Your Eyes?

Author: Richard Horgan

You can get a cold in your eyes.

More Info: The same infectious agent that causes the common cold can infect the moist tissue of the eye.  When the cold virus infects the eye it is called viral conjunctivitis, or more commonly ‘pink eye'.

Bacterial and Viral Conjunctivitis

If the discharge from the eye(s) is thicker and there is a pink or reddish color to the eye, without any itching being present, chances are it is a bacterial or viral strain of conjunctivitis. The viral form of pink eye is referred to by doctors as self-limiting and thus requires no medical treatment. The bacterial strain of the ailment on the other hand can be either viral or bacterial. In the latter case, a mild form of it can still also be self-limiting. Otherwise, the most common cure for the infection is eye drops.

Symptoms of an Eye Cold

Such colds in the eye swell the membrane that covers the inside of the eyelid and the white portion of the eye, also known as the conjunctiva. It can occur in one or both eyes, and because the blood vessels in the conjunctivas swell during this condition, they can in the case of the white portion of the eye give the appearance of a pink or red hue, hence the virtually synonymous names of "pink eye" and "red eye".

Eye Cold Treatment

In the United Kingdom, acute conjunctivitis was recently found to account for up to one percent of general practitioner visits, with half of the patients being children. The common cure for acute cases of a cold in the eyes is antibiotics; British doctors prescribed chloramphenicol in 80% of the cases surveyed and fusidic acid for another 13%. However, there is conflicting evidence as to the clinical value of these antibiotics. One survey found them to have no significant impact on eye infections while another claimed these medications reduce the infection time by an average of one and a half days.



Works Cited

Eye Smart
"Answer Archive"


Expert Opinion 

Quote: "Most cases of contagious pinkeye are a type of viral conjunctivitis, a viral infection involving the moist tissue layer that covers the eye and lines the inner eyelids. The eyeball itself is usually not affected. The infectious agent is typically a common cold virus, that's why conjunctivitis is often described as a ‘cold in the eye'."

Source:   Bill Lloyd M.D., WebMD Expert Blog

Quote: "Eye drainage during the course of a cold usually means a sinus infection and is a clue that a doctor should examine your child."

Source:  William Sears M.D.,


purple arrowCite this Article

"Can You Get A Cold In Your Eyes?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

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