Viral or Viral Conjunctivitis: Causes, Symptoms, Differences, Treatment and Recommendations

It is contracted and spread by a virus, which is a parasite that needs a living body to reproduce.

It is a highly contagious form of pink eye caused by airborne viruses that are easily spread through sneezing and coughing.

Conjunctivitis is an infection of the eye that results from inflammation of the conjunctiva. This transparent membrane covers the white of the eye and the inner lining of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis will make your eyes watery, itchy, and irritated.

The main difference that the patient needs to understand with viral conjunctivitis is that antibiotics will not be prescribed as they will be of no use. They could cause harm as overuse can cause a significant allergic reaction to the preservatives found in bottled eye drops.

Causes of Viral Conjunctivitis

There is only one cause, coming into contact with someone who transmits the virus. It is spread through coughing, touching, or sneezing. Transmission may not be direct but may come from measles or the common flu.

Highly contagious but common airborne viruses cause them. People of all ages can get pink eye. Still, children are more often irritated than adults because they are prone to colds and respiratory tract infections, which can cause viral pink eye, and are usually found in close quarters—like classrooms.


Pink eyes are often the first indicator; the eyes are excessively watery and have a discharge that is most noticeable in the morning.


Sometimes the eyelids can swell, and even the eye itself, leaving the patient looking “glassy.” A very severe attack can sometimes be accompanied by swelling in the ear or neck.

Those infected with conjunctivitis will have a pink eye, accompanied by itching, stinging, burning, irritation, pain, roughness, scabs, and sensitivity to light.

The appearance and appearance of your eye will help you determine what type of pink eye you have contracted. Viral conjunctivitis is usually present in only one eye (before sometimes spreading to the other), which will be excessively watery and sensitive to light. The eyelids may crust over.

Differences in symptoms between viral and bacterial conjunctivitis

  • Eye color: in viral conjunctivitis, it is pinker, while in bacterial conjunctivitis, it is redder.
  • Tears: in viral conjunctivitis, there are more tears than in bacterial conjunctivitis.
  • Discharge: in the bacterial one, there is the expulsion of pus.

Of course, symptoms vary between strains of infection and how people react to them, so the above differences cannot be used precisely.

Treatment of Viral Conjunctivitis

Because viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus, antibiotics and antibiotic drops/ointments will not treat the condition. However, since the virus is self-limited, it will usually clear up on its own, typically improving after the fifth day.

Several products can lessen the effects of viral conjunctivitis; the vasoconstrictor reduces redness, decongestants reduce swelling, and surface antihistamines minimize itching.

Knowing if conjunctivitis contracted by a patient is viral rather than bacterial or allergic can be of little importance since the symptoms are similar and all are incredibly uncomfortable. Most pink eye will resolve without any treatment within a week.

A cold pack can soothe the eyes, but some therapeutically trained optometrists have had promising comfort-inducing results with steroid eye drops. However, repeating, the infection still takes its own time, which could be a few days, but in some cases, several months.

Recently, optometrists have started using iodine solution with steroid eye drops to resolve viral conjunctivitis. Although no robust studies have been done to date, the initial results appear outstanding.

Recommendations not to spread the infection

A virus spreads through human contact, so avoiding unnecessary contact at work or school is vital.

The incubation period, that is, the time from the first transmission of a person who has the infection to the first signs of symptoms, is one to three days.

That time difference often leaves patients with the vexing question, “Who gave me this?” and “Where did I get this?” The answer sometimes, of course, is family, friends, or coworkers.