Various Conjunctivitis questions

I woke up yesterday morning with conjunctivitis in my right eye and have since then spread it t my other eye. I’m taking Tobramycin eye drops and since I’ve already spread it to my other eye, I’m not too worried about myself. I would, however, like to prevent my girlfriend from contracting it.

I know pink eye is pretty contagious, but how contagious exactly? If I touch something where I had previously rubbed my eyes, how long is that bacteria going to live on that surface so that it could actively spread to someone else? In my mind I’m imagining every thing I touched is infected and that my girlfriend is figuratively screwed, but I’d still like to know what’s really going on. I’m going through quite a bit of hand sanitizer regardless.

Another question: I contracted pink eye just as I had put in a brand new pair of contacts (they’re the kind that you leave in for 30 days and then dispose). Of course I took them out and put them into some contact disinfectant, but are these going to be safe to put back into my eye once my pink eye clears up? I know it might be risky but these contacts are rather expensive and I’d rather not waste a month’s supply on being too cautious… Will a contact cleansing/storing solution such as Optifree kill the bacteria that were probably on my contacts?

All great questions for whoever prescribed the tobramycin for you.

Most conjunctivitis is caused by viruses (which means the tobramycin will have no effect on them, if that’s the cause in your case), many of which also cause upper respiratory infections, or ‘colds’. As such, they’re passed around the same way: particles from sneezing and coughing, and hands coated with virus particles.

Surfaces are a problem as long as the surfaces are moist with your secretions.

Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands, cough or sneeze into cloth, such as a shirtsleeve or a handkerchief. Pathogens dry out and die much quicker in cloth than they do on flesh or in paper tissues.

Wash your hands a lot.

Talk to your doc or contact lens prescriber vis a vis the lens questions. But IMHO, your standard solutions should kill standard pathogens.

Viruses live for a short time on surfaces, maybe hours or days, but bacteria can live for months…years…or millenia!

The surface and the surrounding area will affect the lifespan. A good cleaning is usually all that is needed to disrupt their lives. If the bacteria or viruses that typically caused conjunctivitis hung around more than a day or two, they’d be a bigger problem.

It is a safe bet to say that most infectious viruii (/sp?) [viruses?] or bacteria that affect us mildly hang around a day or two at most on various surfaces.