Pink eye or conjunctivitis is a common eye infection that occurs in both adults and children. We have all experienced it at least once and know for a fact that it’s self-treatable. There are three types of pink eye, viral, bacterial, and allergic. The actual duration of the eye infection depends on the type and treatment. In most cases, conjunctivitis or pink eye clears up within a few days or approximately two weeks.
A Quick Overview Of Pink Eye Or Conjunctivitis
How Long Can Pink Eye Last?
Viral, bacterial, or allergic, each type of pink eye infection has a specific duration to heal. Let’s dive deep and understand how long it takes for each of these eye infections to clear up.
Viral Pink Eye
Viral pink eye is caused by the Adenovirus and herpes virus. This type usually clears up without any treatment in about 7 to 14 days. Viruses that cause pink eye either spread from your nose to the eyes or through tiny droplets that come in contact with your eyes when someone with a viral infection coughs or sneezes.
Here are a few symptoms of viral pink eye:
- It starts in one eye and gradually spreads to the other eye.
- Cold or a respiratory infection.
- Watery discharge from the eye.
Bacterial Pink Eye
Bacterial conjunctivitis or pink eye is an infection caused by bacteria like staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus pneumonia. Insects, poor hygiene, or contaminated makeup can also cause an eye infection. Additionally, wearing contact lenses that don’t belong to you or have been in the solution for too long can cause bacterial conjunctivitis.
Visit the eye doctor who may prescribe you some antibiotics to treat bacterial pink eye. Once you are on medication, the infection should start clearing up within 24 hours. However, if the eye infection is mild, give it 10 days to clear up.
Here are a few symptoms of bacterial pink eye.
- It starts with a respiratory or an ear infection
- It affects either one or both eyes
- Releases a thick discharge that causes your eyes to stick together
Allergic conjunctivitis or pink eye is common among people who have seasonal allergies. It occurs when their eyes are exposed to substances like pollen or mold spores that trigger an allergic reaction.
Allergic pink eye can either be seasonal or perennial, depending upon the allergen causing the reaction. This type of pink eye clears up or improves once you get your allergies treated and refrain from anything that could trigger it.
Here are a few symptoms of allergic pink eye.
- Redness in the eye
- Constant itching
- Watery eyes
- A burning sensation in the eye(s)
Pink Eye Or Conjunctivitis Treatment
Pink eye treatment is easy. All you need to do is be patient and practice these simple at-home remedies. Hygiene plays a crucial role in the healing process.
Here is how you can treat pink eye at home:
- Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to prevent dryness, but make sure you discard the bottle once your infection has cleared away.
- Use a hot or cold compress to bring down the swelling.
- Clean the thick discharge from your eyes using a wet washcloth.
- In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines.
- People with consistent allergic conjunctivitis may also require topical steroid eye drops.
Signs That Indicate You Are Contagious
- If you suffer from bacterial pink eye, there are chances that you can spread it to others as soon as your symptoms begin to appear.
- In the case of viral conjunctivitis, the person infected can spread the virus before the symptoms appear till the time your symptoms last. So, it is best to avoid contact.
How To Get Rid Of Pink Eye Quickly?
- Stop wearing contact lenses but once your infection has cleared, switch to a new pair of contacts.
- Stop wearing eye makeup and throw away expired eye makeup.
- Use over-the-counter lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears.
- Warm compress – an age-old technique to soothe the discomfort caused by the infection.
Things To Do After Pink Eye Clears
- Clean and disinfect all eyewear.
- Throw away any disposable contact lenses.
- Throw away old makeup or makeup used just before you got infected.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What gets rid of pink eyes faster?
A. If you have bacterial pink eye or conjunctivitis, visit your eye doctor for antibiotics or antibiotic eye drops. In the case of a viral pink eye, artificial tears or warm compress are the solutions. Lastly, in the case of allergic pink eye, you must stay away from allergens that may trigger it or make it worse.
Q. Does pink eye go away on its own?
A. Yes, it may go away on its own. It takes around two weeks for the infection to clear up completely. But it’s always good to follow a few conjunctivitis treatments at home, such as warm or cold compress and over-the-counter eye drops.
Q. When is it safe to return to work or school?
A. Once your symptoms have cleared, you should be able to get back to work or go to school.
Here is a guide based on each type of pink eye.
- Viral Pink Eye – After two days or two weeks, depending upon your symptoms.
- Bacterial Pink Eye – Post 24 hours of being on antibiotic treatment.
- Allergic Pink Eye – You don’t need to stay home.
Q. What Causes Pink Eye?
A. Conjunctivitis or pink eye is often caused by bacteria or viruses and clears up within a few days to two weeks. If you experience pink eye symptoms for a longer duration, make sure to visit the ENT specialist or an ophthalmologist.
Pink eye prevention is always better than cure. So, make sure that you are following good hygiene practices. That is the best way to avoid conjunctivitis or pink eye. However, if you ever get infected, this article will help you identify the type of conjunctivitis, how long it will last (approximately), and the different ways to treat it at home. So bookmark this now!