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How Long Does Pink Eye Last: From Onset to Recovery

Gina Walters



Pink Eye, also known as Conjunctivitis, is commonly caused by viruses, bacteria, and allergens.

While not all types of Pink Eyes are contagious, each may take some time to treat.

How long Pink Eye lasts is a common concern for those infected with this condition. 

Pink Eyes often take one to two weeks to recover from their contagious nature. However, this may vary in cases of allergic Conjunctivitis.

In this article, we’ll discuss “how long does Pink Eye last” and the treatments available for it in detail.

How long does Pink Eye last

The duration of Pink Eye typically depends on Pink Eye causes and how it’s treated.

Antibiotics are commonly used to relieve Bacterial Pink Eye, which may take 5 to 7 days.

Viral Pink Eye can be contagious for up to two weeks.

When people with Allergic Pink Eyes stop being exposed to  the allergen, their condition may improve.

Let’s discuss how long it takes to treat these various types of Pink Eyes:

Know which antibiotics to take for pink eye with our article: Pink Eye Antibiotics: Effective Way to Get Rid of Conjunctivitis

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Viral Pink Eye

bacterial-pink-eye-treatmentSource: Syda_productions
Closeup of a woman suffering from bacterial pink eye

The most common type of Conjunctivitis is Viral Pink Eye and is caused by Adenovirus.

According to a study, Viral Pink Eye may last up to 10-14 days approximately.

It usually gets better in 1 to 2 weeks without using medication. In some individuals, healing can take three weeks or longer.

The redness and discomfort may last a shorter period; however, viral shedding can persist for several weeks. 

Explore every treatment available for Viral Pink Eye with our article: Viral Pink Eye Treatment: Effective Strategies to Relieve Symptoms

Viral shedding is when a virus is actively multiplying and being released from the infected person’s body.

Bacterial Pink Eye

Bacterial Pink Eye is caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus.

Bacterial Pink Eye frequently lasts until the infection is treated, usually after antibiotic treatment.

With proper antibiotic treatment, symptoms often start improving within 3 to 4 days.

Without treatment, the condition usually improves in 2 to 5 days, although it might take up to 2 weeks to recover entirely.

Early diagnosis is essential for effective treatments and faster recovery. 

Discover the facts about Bacterial Pink Eye; Read Bacterial Pink Eye Treatment and learn how to tackle Bacterial Pink Eye. 

Allergic Pink Eye

Allergic-pink-eyeSource: Africa's_Images
Allergic pink eye

The presence of allergens is closely associated with Allergic Pink Eye. Symptoms may last as long as the allergen is present.

Research states that around 10 to 30% of the population worldwide are affected by Allergic Pink Eye. 

It causes infections; the symptoms may continue until the allergen is eliminated from the eyes.

Symptoms normally lessen within a few days of removing the allergen.

Want to know the difference between pink eyes and allergies? Read our article: Pink Eye vs Allergies: Know the Difference

To prevent the spread of pink eye, maintain good hygiene. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, and follow proper handwashing and cleanliness measures.

Treatments available for Pink Eye

Pink Eye treatment depends upon the factors that cause the condition. 

Treatments for Pink Eye include: 

Viral Pink Eye: Symptoms can be improved by rest, cold compresses, and artificial tears. To prevent spread of pink eye, it is essential to practice excellent hygiene.

Bacterial Pink Eye: Research states that antibiotic eye drops or medications are effective treatments. Symptoms of bacterial pink eye usually improve within a few days if treated promptly.

Allergic Pink Eye: Pink eyes caused by allergies can cause irritation and dry eyes, utilizing artificial tear drops and cleaning one’s eyes can help.

Eye drops that reduce inflammation of the eyes can also be useful in certain situations.

It is essential to consult your doctor if you experience Pink Eye symptoms to avoid potential risks.

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Summing up

Pink Eye is a contagious eye condition and affected individuals should avoid contact with anyone until their symptoms have relieved.

To answer the question, “How long does Pink Eye last?”

The duration of Pink Eye varies based on its type and the effectiveness of treatment.

When a person has Viral Pink Eye, it usually lasts 1-2 weeks and can take up to three weeks to heal fully.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis typically lasts 2 to 5 days and can take up to 2 weeks to completely resolve.

Allergic Pink Eyes usually remain for several hours after the allergen causing the allergic reaction has been removed.

Understanding the causes of Pink Eye and how to treat it effectively can help in a faster recovery.

It is best to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and specific treatment for your condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Pink Eye last without treatment?

Without treatment, Viral Pink Eye can continue anywhere from 7 to 14 days. 
It is not uncommon for treatment to take three weeks or longer. Bacterial Conjunctivitis can last up to 7 days.
However Allergic Conjunctivitis can last as long as the allergen is present.

Can Pink Eyes go away in 3 days?

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) can improve within three days, but the duration varies on its type. 
Viral Conjunctivitis may resolve in a week, while bacterial Conjunctivitis often clears up with antibiotics in a few days. 
Allergic Conjunctivitis may persist if the allergen is present. Consult a doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

How long is Pink Eye contagious? 

The contagious period of pink eye depends on the cause. Viral Pink Eye can be contagious for up to two weeks.
Bacterial Pink Eye remains contagious until 24-48 hours after starting antibiotics. Allergic Pink Eye is not contagious.

How long does Pink Eye last with antibiotics? 

Bacterial infection may last 2 to 3 days with antibiotic treatment. Individuals’ timeframes may vary, and it may sometimes take longer than a week to be entirely treated.

Why is my Pink Eye lasting so long? 

Pink eye can last longer if it’s a Viral or Allergic type. 
Viral Pink Eye may persist for several weeks, while Allergic Conjunctivitis may last as long as the allergen is present. 
Consulting a healthcare professional is advisable for persistent cases.

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