Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) is redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. Pinkeye symptoms usually start in one eye and may then spread to the other eye. The most common type of pinkeye is caused by a virus and occurs most often in adults.
Viral pinkeye is often caused by an adenovirus, which is a common respiratory virus that can also cause a sore throat or upper respiratory infection. The herpes virus can also cause viral pinkeye.
Symptoms of viral pinkeye include:
Viral pinkeye symptoms usually last 5 to 7 days but may last up to 3 weeks and can become ongoing or chronic.
An infection may develop when bacteria enter the eye or the area around the eye. Some common infections that cause pinkeye include:
Symptoms of bacterial pinkeye include:
Bacterial pinkeye may cause more drainage than viral pinkeye. Bacterial infections usually last 7 to 10 days without antibiotic treatment and 2 to 4 days with antibiotic treatment.
If you have bacterial pinkeye:
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||November 2, 2011|