Bacterial Pink Eye Vs Viral Pink Eye

The kind of eye infection you have is the deciding factor which decides how long it will take to treat your pink eye, in majority of the cases, your pink eye infection gets cleared within some days while in some other cases, it might take up to 10-14 days as well. There are different kinds of pink eye which includes viral and bacterial as well and the case varies from person to person.

  • One of the reasons for pink eye is viruses such as adenovirus and herpes which automatically gets cleared up within 10-10 days and that too without any kind of treatment as well.
  • While the other kind is Bacterial pink eye which is mainly due to an infection with bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumonia. You need to start taking antibiotics as it will help in clearing up the infection and these antibiotics will start working immediately and results will come within 24 hours. In case you are not taking any kind of antibiotics, then also in case you have mild bacterial pink eye then also you will start witnessing some relief and pink eye will always improves within 7-10 days.

Pink eye is mostly contagious in case you have symptoms such as redness and crusting but these kinds of symptoms will start improving after 3 to 6 days and will see an improvement as well. You can take antibiotics in case you have a bacterial infection so that the symptoms disappear quickly but in case you have viral infections or there are some other reasons for pink eye, then antibiotics will not work and you must consult your doctor for the cause and treatment as well.

Difference between Viral pink eye and bacterial pink eye

A virus that result in causing viral pink eye can starts from nose and then reaches to our eyes, or else there are higher chances that you also catches the viral in case someone near sneezes in front of you and the droplets get in contact with your eyes, then you can also have a vital pink eye. IN most of the cases, the bacteria spreads to your eyes through our respiratory system or sometimes skin as well and you have higher chances of catching bacterial pink eye in case you:

  • You start touching your eyes with dirty hands
  • In case you applied makeup which has been contaminated with bacteria
  • In case you are sharing your personal belongings with the ones who already have pink eye

In both kinds of pink eye, the infection starts during an upper respiratory infection like cold or sore throat and then it result in pink eye. In case you have a pink eye because of viral or bacterial pink eye, in both of the cases, you will experience the symptoms which include:

  • You will start seeing red color in your eyes
  • tearing
  • you will feel scratchy in the eye
  • Your eyes will start swelling
  • You will have a feeling of burning
  • You will experience crusting of the eyelids or lashes mostly in the morning
  • Some discharge from the eye
Beneath we are discussing some of the ways which can help you in deciding which type of pink eye you are having:

For Viral pink eye:

  • In most of the cases it start in an eye and then will affect your other eye as well
  • You will have cold or other kinds of infections at first before experiencing pink eye
  • It will result in water kind of discharge from the eye

In case you have bacterial pink eye:

  • It will start with an infection in the respiratory or infection in the ear
  • It will affect one or sometimes both eyes as well
  • It will result in a thick discharge that will stick your eyes together

For getting the best treatment for pink eye, you can get in touch with your healthcare provider who will be the best person to guide you about the causes and its treatment as well. Also, they will clear what kind of pink eye you have, whether you have a bacterial or a viral infection, you will get to know about it when your doctor take sample of the discharge from your eye and send it to the lab for getting it tested.

Pink Eye Treatment

In majority of the cases, viral or bacterial pink eye gets disappeared automatically without any kind of treatment; they will disappear after some days that varies from few days to two weeks as well. but till the time, you can use some ways to witness relieve in the symptoms of your pink eye which include:

  • You can use artificial tears that will help in preventing the dryness from your eyes. Just make sure that you throw the bottle post getting treated with the infection so that you won’t get infection again in the future.
  • You can keep cold packs or warm, moist compresses on your eyes to minimize the swelling from the eyes.
  • You can clean the discharge coming from your eyes using a wet washcloth or some soft tissues as well.

Also in case you have a severe pink eye, your doctor will advise some medicines as well to you. Viral pink eye which is caused due to herpes simplex or varicella-zoster virus will positively respond to antiviral medicines and you will witness instant relief in your discomfort level. Also, these antibiotic eye drops will help in clearing up the severe bacterial pink eyes as well.

In case you don’t want to get reinfected with this kind of infection, then you must adhere to the following steps post you have cleared pink eye:

  • You must throw out the eye makeup or the entire kit which you were using at the time you were infected.
  • Also you need to thrash out your disposable contact lenses and solution which you were using when you had a pink eye.
  • You must properly clean and disinfect your hard contact lenses, or even the case as well.

Pink Eye Prevention

Since Pink eye is highly contagious in nature, so it is important that you avoid catching or getting affected by the infection:

  • You must clean your hands on a regular basis with soap and warm water. Don’t just keep your hands under the running tap, rather clean it properly. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer which will help in removing the impurities from your hand. You should wash your hands before and after using eye drops or at the time of putting contact lenses in your eyes. Also, you must wash your hands in case you are getting in contact with an infected person, try to maintain some distance from the person who already have pink eye and don’t touch his/her clothes, or other personal belongings as well.
  • You must not touch or rub your eyes as it will increase the trouble.
  • You should not share your personal like towels, pillowcases, makeup kit etc especially with the person already infected with a pink eye.
  • You should wash your bedding, cloths, and towels in hot water post using them as bacteria gets killed in hot water.
  • You must clean your contact lenses and glasses properly.
  • In case you have pink eye, then you must stay indoors and avoid going to college or office as well till the time you don’t see any improvement in your symptoms.

How long will symptoms of pink eye exist?

With viral conjunctivitis, the symptoms are worse in the beginning and keeps on improving with the passage of time. You can use some eye drops that contain decongestants or antihistamines which will lower the feeling of irritation and swelling from your eyes as well. You are no more contagious in case your eyes start looking normal again and 24 hours later as well post taking antibiotics.

In case your eye infection is not caused due to viral or bacterial causes, then you might have allergic conjunctivitis and in these cases, your eyes will experience some redness which will disappear with time. Allergic conjunctivitis don’t disappear on its own, you need to treat it to make your eyes look normal again. Till the time you are having pink eye, you can use eye drops that contain antihistamines to make the symptoms less troubling and these eye drops for allergies are easily available everywhere, you can get it easily. But in case you are not sure which eye drops you should take and you have severe pink eye, then you must get in touch with your doctor to have more accurate understanding of your condition.

Time to Consult your Doctor

In most of the cases, while having a pink eye, people start experiencing some relief after a few days with or without any kind of treatment as well as pink eye is not that long-term problem that takes months to recover. But in case you are having severe pink eye can which results in swelling in the cornea, then you need proper treatment for the same so that it don’t trouble you much. You must visit your eye specialist in case you are experiencing the beneath mentioned symptoms:

  • In case you are having pain in your eyes
  • You are having a blurred vision, and getting sensitive to light, or facing any other kind of vision problems as well
  • The color of your eyes change to red
  • In case you are not witnessing any relief in your symptoms even after a week as well without medicine
  • In case, even after taking antibiotics , you are not feeling better and your symptoms are getting worse with each passing day
  • In case you don’t have a strong immune system and have cancer or other disease for which you are taking strong dosage of antibiotics


Pink eye is mostly caused by a viral infection and don’t result in much complications as well, most of the people with pink eye start experiencing relief and their condition improve with the passing of some days. Sometimes Pink eye can also be caused by bacterial conjunctivitis and need proper treatment like prescription antibiotic eye drops to get recovered and it such cases, it takes up to a month as well to get recovered from the infection completely. However, in this kind of pink eye, people don’t remain contagious 24 hours post taking antibiotic medicines.

Pink eye is a quite common eye infection which can happen to anybody, and two of the main causes of pink eye is either bacteria or viruses. In majority of the cases, pink eye is mild and it starts improving with or without any kind of treatment as well and people start witnessing an improvement in their condition after some days. But in some serious cases, where there is no relief even after the few days as well then you need treatment antibiotics or antiviral medicines to treat your pink eye. You must maintain good hygiene and wash your hands with Luke warm water so that the bacteria gets killed and should stop sharing your personal items so that you can prevent the spread of pink eye.



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