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Can a Sinus Infection Cause Pink Eye?

The short answer to “Can a sinus infection cause pink eye?” is yes. In fact, it’s one of the most common causes—along with an ear infection. However, these certainly aren’t the only causes of pink eye. 

In the vast majority of cases, pink eye is easily treated and leaves no long-lasting effects. There is a small chance that the problem can be a symptom of something more serious, which we’ll discuss in a moment.

FAQs about Pink Eye 

  • What is pink eye?
  • How can a sinus infection cause pink eye?
  • How is pink eye treated? 

What is pink eye? 

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, to call it by its clinical name, is an infection of the lining of the eyelid and the white part of the eye. Most infections are mild and often clear up on their own. Sometimes medication is needed to resolve the issue. This is usually in the form of an ointment or eye drops. 

There are four main causes of pink eye:

  1. Bacteria: Many types of bacteria can cause the eye to become inflamed. These are often transferred to the eye through touch. It’s common to have a bacterial infection in one eye and unwittingly transfer it to the other. Therefore, it’s important to be meticulous with cleanliness if you have conjunctivitis in one eye.
  2. A virus: A viral upper respiratory tract infection, sinusitis, or cold can all migrate to the eye. Other, rarer viral causes include sexually transmitted diseases and the herpes virus.
  3. Allergies: Pollen, cosmetics, contact lenses, dust mites, mold, and more… Such sensitivities can often result in pink eye.
  4. Chemical exposure: Such as chlorine, pollution in the air, or even makeup can cause the eye to become pink and infected.

How can a sinus infection cause pink eye?

Tears drain along the tear duct—passageways that run from the eyes to the nasal cavities. If you have sinusitis and blow your nose too forcefully, it’s possible for the virus to be projected upwards and into the eyes, causing pink eye.

Any upper respiratory tract infection of bacterial origin (of which the sinuses are a part), can migrate to the eyes this way, causing pink eye.

How is pink eye treated? 

In mild cases, pink eye will resolve itself within a week or so. When symptoms are severe enough for intervention to be indicated, what your eye doctor will prescribe will depend on whether it’s bacterial or viral conjunctivitis.

For an infection that’s bacterial in origin, you’ll most likely be given antibiotic eye drops. If it’s viral then, unless it’s severe, the infection is best left to run its course. If your eye doctor deems that medication is necessary, you might be prescribed antiviral drugs.

While symptoms of any type of pink eye can be similar, you’re more likely to have discharge from the eyes with a bacterial infection. Respiratory issues are more common when it’s viral in nature.

Other symptoms of pink eye include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Excessive watering
  • Pink membranes and a pink or red color of the whites of the eyes
  • A burning sensation 
  • Crusty eyes—usually worse in the morning
  • Feeling like there’s something in your eye/s

Your eye doctor will usually diagnose pink eye from the symptoms and an examination. It’s very rare that other tests, such as taking swabs, will be necessary. However, it’s important to get the condition diagnosed by your eye doctor, as in very rare cases the condition could be a symptom of another, more serious, underlying cause.

From Pink Eye to Laser Vision Correction: The WBEC is Your One-Stop-Shop for All Things Vision-Related

The West Boca Eye Center was created to bring both routine and specialist eye care together in a single location. Headed by one of the world’s leading ophthalmologic surgeons—Brent Bellotte M.D., this academic-grade clinic offers some of the most clinically advanced treatment and care on the planet.

Whether you’re worried that your child has developed pink eye from a sinus infection, =your grandfather needs a cataract operation, or anything else that’s related to eyesight, you and your loved ones are in the safest of experienced hands.

Check out the vast range of treatments available at and call today to arrange a consultation.

Can a Sinus Infection Cause Pink Eye?
Can a Sinus Infection Cause Pink Eye?

The short answer to “Can a sinus infection cause pink eye?” is yes. In fact, it’s one of the most common causes—along with an ear infection.

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Specializing in modern cataract surgery.

Located 1/2 miles North of West Boca Medical Center on Glades Road, directly behind Macy's Furniture Gallery.

West Boca Eye Center
9325 Glades Road, Suite 201.
Boca Raton, FL 33434

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