How Long Does Pink Eye Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 7 to 21 Days

Pink eye is commonly known as conjunctivitis. It is an infection that surrounds the inner eyelid as well as the outer membrane of the eyeball. It may be caused due to an allergic reaction, bacterial or viral infection. It is a highly contagious disorder. Pink eye can spread easily via contact with the eye secretions of the person suffering the infection. 

This condition occurs when an eye’s conjunctiva is irritated by an allergy or infection. This condition is easily visible to the naked eye as the blood vessels get inflamed. Depending upon the root cause of pink eye, it can be treated using antihistamines or antibiotics. 

How Long Does Pink Eye Last?

The duration for which pink eye lasts depends on the type of infection the person has contracted. It also depends on the treatment being taken. An ideal time for pink eye or conjunctivitis is around a week or two. The type of pink eye cannot be recognized by merely looking at the infection. It requires testing.

Mild viral pink eye usually lasts for 7 to 14 days even without any treatment. In some cases, the viral pink eye may even take around 20 to 25 days to be eliminated. Whereas bacterial infection goes away in 10 to 12 days even without any antibiotics. Medical treatment may speed up the recovery process. The infections that are caused by the allergies go away as soon as the other symptoms disappear. 

Pink eye mostly occurs when someone touches their eyes with unclean hands or shares personal stuff with an infected person. Even eye makeup or any other eye product can transmit pink eyes. This condition starts from one eye, and it may or may not affect the second eye. 

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Blood vessels in the conjunctiva get inflamed and that is the reason for the redness of the infected eye. It can easily be spread by any contaminated surface and skin-to-skin contact. The symptoms of pink eye that are caused by different agents are more or less the same. 

The symptoms are:

  • Burning
  • Irritation
  • Discharge from the eye(s)
  • Itchy feeling in the eye(s)
  • Redness in the white area of the eye(s)
  • Swelling
Cause Of Pink EyesTime
Virus7 to 25 Days
Bacteria10 to 12 Days
Allergy7 to 10 Days

Why Does Pink Eye Last So Long?

There is not much that is to be done to cure mild pink eye as it goes away with time. Eye drops can help reduce the redness of the eye or may give comfort. Adequate rest, good sleep, and proper hygiene may also help improve the condition. There is nothing that may treat it in a short time. Any type of conjunctivitis takes at least a week.

Treatment of pink eye generally focuses on alleviating symptoms. Doctors can recommend using artificial tears to wipe the eyelids with a damp cloth and apply a cold compress multiple times a day. If a person wears contact lenses, discontinuation is advisable until treatment is complete.

People affected with pink eye must ensure that they don’t come in direct contact with other persons as it may be passed onto them. Even schools, workplaces don’t allow people with pink eyes to come to work unless the symptoms go away. It is not age-specific, and it is not a disease that is passed from one generation to another. 

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Pink eyes can be easily treated. It requires more hygiene & cleanliness rather than medicines. Each and everybody is at risk of pink eye as it can happen to anyone. Researches have shown that this is very common among school-going kids as they come in close contact with other children at the school. Moreover, children do not give much heed to cleanliness and hygiene.

Conclusion

Pink eye is a very common infection of an eye that is caused by bacteria or viruses. It is not a very serious condition and usually goes away in a week or two. It is highly contagious. Some serious cases may require treatment of antibiotics or antiviral medicines prescribed by a doctor. 

It might be a very painful experience for some people. Prevention is very necessary for this condition as it spreads very easily, good hygiene practices are advisable. Washing hands as and when required, avoiding personal items may help in preventing it. Irrespective of the cause of the pink eye, you have to deal with it for at least a week.

References

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/article-abstract/641929
  2. https://academic.oup.com/inthealth/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/inthealth/ihab049/6354737
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