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How Long Does Pink Eye Last?



How long pink eye lasts depends on the type of pink eye that you have contracted.

Viral conjunctivitis: 8-10 days

Bacterial conjunctivitis: 3-5 days following antibiotic treatment

More Info: Conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye) is caused by allergies, an object in the eye, or bacterial or viral infections, which are the most frequent causes of this problem. It is a fairly common and annoying disease, but it rarely results in long-term damage to the eye or serious vision problems.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

If you develop this condition, your physician will suggest that you avoid those allergens that you know may trigger an allergic reaction. When the allergens, including pollen, are both airborne and seasonal, that is difficult to do. Since this is the case, oral antihistamines are the usual treatment, along with eye drops to reduce itching, swelling, and redness.

If your allergic conjunctivitis is unusually severe or fails to respond to standard treatments, you may have to undergo immunotherapy, and certain tests will be performed to identify the source of your allergies. For several years, tiny amounts of that allergen will be injected under the skin, and you will gradually become less sensitive to it.

Viral Conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis generally clears up on its own, without any specific treatment, but to relieve the annoying symptoms, your doctor may prescribe antihistamine pills and eye drops. Your condition should improve with 8 to 10 days, depending on its severity.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic ointment or eye drops, and your condition should improve with a few days, once you start the treatment. Note also that every type of conjunctivitis can be improved by carefully bathing the eye area with a clean washcloth and cool or lukewarm water to remove any discharge you may have.

Be sure to notify your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms: severe eye pain, changes in your vision, pain when you move your eyes, there is no improvement within two days of treating the problem with medication, your eyes become extremely sensitive to light, or you still have drainage after using the medication as directed.



“ISDH: Conjunctivitis (Pink eye).” Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2010.

“Eye Allergies and Conjunctivitis.” Penn State Hershey. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2010.

“University of Richmond Health Center: Pink Eye.” University of Richmond Health Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2010.


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