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Can You Get Pink Eye From Farts?

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A young man with red eyes holding tissues and rubbing his eye in pain.

Pink eye, a common eye condition, is often transmitted through bacteria or viruses. It leads to visible redness, discomfort, and more. Fortunately, your optometrist can help treat pink eye and help you find relief. But there’s an old schoolyard tale that needs addressing: can you get pink eye from a fart?

The short answer is, no—you can’t get pink eye from a fart. Farts are primarily made up of methane gas and don’t transmit enough harmful contaminants to cause an infection. However, fecal matter can transmit bacteria, so make sure you’re regularly washing your hands. This can help lower your odds of developing pink eye.

What Is Pink Eye?

Pink eye—scientifically known as conjunctivitis—is a fairly common eye condition. It occurs when the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and the white part of the eyelid, becomes inflamed and irritated.

It often causes visible redness, itchiness, and discomfort. There are several types of pink eye:

  • Viral conjunctivitis
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis
  • Allergic conjunctivitis

Viral Conjunctivitis

Much like the name suggests, viral conjunctivitis develops when a viral infection causes inflammation. This variant is highly contagious, often spreading through direct or indirect contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces.

Usually, viral pink eye goes away on its own within a week or so. It doesn’t require any specific treatment, as antibiotics don’t work against viruses. Instead, it helps to use cool compresses and eye drops to find relief while you wait for symptoms to recede.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Bacterial pink eye develops when bacteria are causing the inflammation. It’s also highly contagious and can easily be transmitted if you aren’t careful. It often causes a yellow-green discharge around your eyes.

Unlike viral pink eye, though, the bacterial form is often treatable with prescribed antibiotic eye drops or ointments.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is an inflammation that develops due to an allergic reaction. When your body has an allergic reaction, it often causes several different systems in the body to go into overdrive trying to flush out the allergen—and the eyes are no exception.

This type of pink eye isn’t contagious and can be managed with a mix of antihistamines, avoiding allergens, and using cold compresses or eye drops to find relief. Typically, symptoms recede fairly quickly but may last longer if you experience seasonal allergies.

Is There a Link Between Pink Eye & Farts?

The notion that you can get pink eye from farting has circulated for quite some time. Despite how often it’s repeated in the schoolyard, there’s no scientific evidence to back up this claim.

Farts are primarily methane gas, and they’re your body’s way of expelling the gas produced by healthy bacteria living in your intestines. It’s a common bodily function that we all do—even if we avoid doing so in public, and maybe we’d rather not admit it to some people. But because it’s just an expulsion of gas in the body, you can’t get, or give, pink eye with a fart.

However, pink eye can be transmitted through even small traces of fecal matter, since this is a much more direct source of bacteria. To prevent this from happening, it’s essential to practice good hygiene and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom. And if you’re a parent who often finds yourself changing diapers, try to avoid touching your eyes, and make regular handwashing a part of you and your child’s changing routine.

Can an Optometrist Help with Pink Eye?

If you do have pink eye, you can find relief with a visit to your optometrist. However, treatment will depend on what type of pink eye you’re experiencing.

Viral Pink Eye

If you’re dealing with viral pink eye, your optometrist can give you some advice for finding relief. They may recommend using:

  • Cold compresses
  • Eye drops
  • Following proper hygiene practices to avoid transmitting it to someone else

However, there isn’t much clinical treatment for pink eye. Instead, you’ll need to wait for your immune system to deal with the virus and symptoms to recede on their own.

Bacterial Pink Eye

If you’re dealing with bacterial pink eye, your optometrist will be able to help. They’ll likely recommend a course of antibiotics to treat the source of your infection and can give you advice for managing symptoms. 

Allergic Pink Eye

For allergic pink eye, your optometrist can give you recommendations for managing the inflammation and discomfort. They may provide eye drops, prescribe antihistamines, or recommend avoiding allergens that trigger your symptoms.

Tips for Preventing Pink Eye

Reducing your risk of pink eye is an essential step to avoiding this condition in the future. It’s essential to practice proper hygiene, especially when it comes to eye care. It can help to:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • Do not share personal items like towels, makeup, or eye drops
  • Keep your environment clean and maintain proper ventilation

And you can always visit your optometrist for regular eye exams. This way, they can give you up-to-date on proper eye hygiene and eye care.

A woman in an optometry clinic shaking hands with her male optometrist.

When to Visit Your Optometrist

If you’re currently experiencing pink eye or have a question about your eye care, reach out to our team at Sage Eyecare. Our team is here to give you our expert advice and can recommend an appropriate treatment to help you find relief. Don’t deal with the discomfort alone—book an appointment with our team today.


Written by
Dr. Mae Chiu

Dr. Mae Chiu obtained her Honours Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Optometry degrees from the University of Waterloo. She completed clinical externships in Hong Kong and in Canada specializing in ocular pathologies such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. She received further training in the areas of specialty multifocal contact lens fittings and co-management of refractive laser and cataract surgeries.

Dr. Chiu is certified for prescribing therapeutic agents. She is a member of the Canadian Association of Optometrists and Ontario Association of Optometrists. Dr. Chiu enjoys travelling and trying out different cuisines from all over the world. Dr. Chiu is fluent in English and Cantonese.

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Dr. Mae Chiu

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