Healthy Living

What is Viral Conjunctivitis?

What is Viral Conjunctivitis?

What is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Viral conjunctivitis is one of the highly contagious disease which gets spread very easily. The transmission of the disease needed to be avoid by taking complete precautions. The disease gets spread in the children faster than in elders. In most cases, when the disease Viral conjunctivitis starts spreading then it is advised to keep the children out of the school for a day or two till the infection comes under the control completely. The disease gets transmitted faster and it can influence the people easily. The disease can spread from one person to other or from one person to many at a time.

The disease Viral conjunctivitis has self-limiting and it can last for about one week or more. Sometime the effect of the disease remains for more than a week. The disease Viral conjunctivitis requires cool and compressing atmosphere which keeps it under control and gets relief. However, for the people who are suffering from severe photophobia or having the affected vision can get benefitted from the disease because of its topical corticosteroids, which is 1% prednisolone acetate qid.  The Corticosteroids present which are mainly prescribed by the ophthalmologist. The effect of Herpes simplex keratitis should be reduced with the use of fluorescein staining and slit-lamp examination because corticosteroids can exacerbate it.

There are different form of conjunctivitis and most of them include bacterial, viral, allergic and some other types are inflammation of the transparent, mucous membrane which is also called conjunctiva which is covering the white part of the eye or sclera. The various causes of the inflamed eye and conjunctivitis include different forms of forms bacteria, viruses and fungi. Most of the non-infectious causes are in form of allergies, foreign bodies and chemicals.

The commonly used phrase "pink eye" which is mostly used for the commonly used refer to conjunctivitis. The phrase is mainly used for the pinkness or redness which is a part of conjunctiva and is one of the most noticeable symptoms of the disease.

Viral conjunctivitis is the most dangerous form of this infection. This infection causes the white part of the eye to turn red or pink, and the person will feel a discomfort and dryness in the infected eye. Viral conjunctivitis can easily be transmitted. That’s why the doctors suggest that the person who is infected with viral conjunctivitis should avoid shaking hands with other people, use public swimming pools, or use the same towel with someone else. In other words, no sharing anything with other people. Viral conjunctivitis is so dangerous, it can infect both eyes. That’s why the person who's infected should avoid scratching his eyes. The most important thing everyone should know is that viral conjunctivitis is treatable, but it should be taken seriously.

Different types of Conjunctivitis

Then Bacterial conjunctivitis is a common type of pink eye, caused by bacteria that infect the eye through various sources of contamination. The bacteria can be spread through contact with an infected individual, exposure to contaminated surfaces or through other means such as sinus or ear infections.

The infections are caused to the eyes and the inflated eyes are mainly caused by: bacteria, viruses and fungi. The other non-infectious causes are various allergies, foreign bodies and chemicals.

The allergic conjunctivitis can useful while the eyes encounter a substance which are highly sensitive, such as pollen in the air. The most common types of bacteria which can cause various bacterial conjunctivitis which include

  • Staphylococcus aureus,
  • Haemophilus influenzae,
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Types of Conjunctivitis

Bacterial conjunctivitis is a common type of pink eye, caused by bacteria that infect the eye through various sources of contamination. The bacteria can be spread through contact with an infected individual, exposure to contaminated surfaces or through other means such as sinus or ear infections.

Generally, the bacterial conjunctivitis produces a thick eye which gets discharge or pus and it can affect either one eye or both the eyes.

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis
  • Viral conjunctivitis
  • Gonococcal and chlamydial conjunctivitis
  • Neonatal conjunctivitis
  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Giant papillary conjunctivitis
  • Non-infectious conjunctivitis

Adenoviral conjunctivitis

Almost 65-90% of viral conjunctivitis is of the adenoviral type. It is very contagious stage with an incubation period of about 30 days and still is infectious for another two weeks. There are many types of adenovirus, all of which can result in follicular conjunctivitis but there are two main types:

  • Pharyngoconjunctival fever: This type is usually mild and more common. It is frequently found in young adults and children, along with respiratory infection. It is very infectious and usually spread commonly via direct contact. It can also spread by using other people’s mascara, eye drops, and even through the swimming pool. The symptoms are usually headache, fever, and a sore throat.
  • Epidemic keratoconjunctivitisThis kind of conjunctiva is found in the cornea. This is a more serious condition with growths inside the cornea. You might feel an aversion to light and blurred vision.


•    Symptoms must be managed.

•    Use cold compress and eye drop every few hours.

•    No wearing contact lenses until symptoms have completely disappeared.

•    No antiviral or antibiotic eye drops because they are ineffective against adenovirus.  

•    Maintain proper hygiene by not sharing towels or bedding. Wash hands frequently. 

•    Symptoms usually last 4-6 weeks.

•    The patient must visit the doctor if symptoms do not clear up in a week or two.

•    Patients don’t need to stay at home or stay away from school if they don’t seem clearly unwell. But there are schools or daycares that prefer young children to stay at home until the symptoms have completely disappeared.


Discomfort - burning or gritty but not sharp.

Significant pain suggests a more serious diagnosis.

Vision is usually normal, although 'smearing', particularly on waking, is common.

Discharge tends to be thick rather than watery.

There may be mild photophobia. Significant photophobia suggests severe adenoviral conjunctivitis or corneal inflammation.

Viral conjunctivitis is a highly contagious acute conjunctival infection usually caused by adenovirus. Symptoms include irritation, photophobia, and watery discharge. Diagnosis is clinical; sometimes viral cultures or immunodiagnostic testing is indicated. Infection is self-limited, but severe cases sometimes require topical corticosteroids.

In order to find out if you are infected with viral conjunctivitis, you have to know the symptoms:

-          The eye will turn red or pink

-          Discomfort and itchiness in the eye

-          The eye will produce more tears than usual

-          A green or white discharge will drip from the eye

-          The eye will be sensitive to light more than usual

Sometimes, the white part of our eye can turn red or pink. There are many reasons why this is happening. Maybe you didn’t get much sleep or you slept too much. Sometimes the redness can be caused by the shampoo. Either way, you should take caution. If you see that the redness in the eye doesn’t go away in just a few hours or days, then visit your doctor as soon as you can. Viral conjunctivitis can last from 1-2 weeks to a month, that’s why it needs to be treated properly.

If you feel that there is a certain discomfort and itchiness in your eye, then chances are that you have been infected with viral conjunctivitis. There is not much you can do, except to avoid human contact and try to stay in a clean and dry area. This way you will avoid spreading the infection and you will keep your eyes clean. Also, if you feel that the eye is producing tears more often than usual, then you must visit your doctor because this is one of the symptoms of viral conjunctivitis. It is normal for the eye to produce tears because this way the eye is cleaning itself. But when this happens too often, it means that there is something wrong with your eyes. There's a possibility that viral conjunctivitis has infected the eye.

Viral conjunctivitis can also lead to a green or white discharge drip from the eye. If you see that something like that is coming from your eye, then it's likely your eye has been infected. The most common mistake people make when they see something like this is to try to wash the eye with water. This is strictly forbidden because of the nature of the infection.

If your eye is infected with viral conjunctivitis, then it will be sensitive to light more than usual. Every time you go out in broad daylight, you will feel discomfort, dryness, and itchiness in the eye. Many people make a mistake when they cover their eyes with an eye-patch. That is very wrong because the eye shouldn’t be covered with anything. They need to be exposed to the air, especially if you live in or near the woods where the air isn’t polluted.

This infection should be treated carefully. It’s very dangerous, but it is treatable. If you have any of these symptoms, there is no need to wait, visit your doctor and consult with him. He may prescribe you a medication that will help you to overcome this infection in no time at all.

Use of antibiotics for bacterial conjunctivitis

Arguments for the use of antibiotics

Topical antibiotics decrease the duration of bacterial conjunctivitis and allow earlier return to school or work. A 2012 Cochrane Review of 11 RCTs concluded that although acute bacterial conjunctivitis is frequently self-limiting, the use of antibiotic eye drops is associated with modestly improved rates of clinical and microbiological remission. The authors conclude that use of antibiotic eye drops should therefore be considered in order to speed the resolution of symptoms and infection.

Viral conjunctivitis can be prolonged and can, in some cases, have lasting consequences. Adenoviral infection is usually (but not always) mild and self-limiting, whereas herpes viruses can cause significant associated keratitis and uveitis.

Estimates of the proportion of infective conjunctivitis that is bacterial vary widely between studies. Recent studies in primary care estimate that between 33% and 78% of cases are bacterial in origin.

How to face the simple bacterial conjunctivitis?

  • Infective conjunctivitis is a self-limiting illness that usually settles without treatment within 1-2 weeks. If symptoms persist for longer than two weeks they should return for review.
  • Seek medical attention urgently if marked eye pain or photophobia, loss of visual acuity, or marked redness of the eye develop.
  • Remove contact lenses, if worn, until all symptoms and signs of infection have completely resolved and any treatment has been completed for 24 hours.
  • Lubricant eye drops may reduce eye discomfort; these are available over the counter, as well as on prescription.
  • Clean away infected secretions from eyelids and lashes with cotton wool soaked in water.
  • Wash hands regularly, particularly after touching the eyes.
  • Avoid sharing pillows and towels.
  • It is not necessary to exclude a child from school or childcare if they have infective conjunctivitis, as mild infectious illnesses should not interrupt school attendance. An exception would be if there is an outbreak of infective conjunctivitis, when advice should be sought from the Health Protection Agency by the school.
  • Adults who work in close contact with others, or with vulnerable patients, should avoid such contact until the discharge has settled.

Other Precautions

Wash hands at regular intervals. This reduces the possibility of spreading the virus elsewhere.

Never share towels or bedding with anyone else or the virus can easily propagate.

Contact lenses must not be worn while under treatment. This keeps the patient’s eyes comfortable and can significantly reduce the chance of getting another bacterial infection that is quite common in people who wear contact lenses.

Clean contact lenses and the case properly. Contact lenses that are contagious should be disposed of as soon as treatment commences.

Throw away all eye makeup and eye drops which could be infected from the conjunctivitis. The virus is known to be present for a significant amount of time even when not in use.