Viral Conjunctivitis

Learn more about Viral Conjunctivitis, including The Symptoms, The Causes, and The Treatments.

The information below is not intended for self diagnose of an eye condition. If you are worried or suffering from an eye problem, please call us on 0208 524 2887 and book in to see us.

Bhavita Magudia
Viral Conjunctivitis - Explained
February 3, 2019
Back to Common Eye Conditions

What Is Viral Conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is classically referred to as pink eyes and is caused by a virus, like the common cold. One eye is usually affected first, it then goes on to affect both eyes.

Viral conjunctivitis causes the clear layer (conjunctiva) over the white the eye (sclera) to become inflamed; the blood vessels dilate giving the appearance of a red eye. Viral conjunctivitis is usually self-limiting, highly contagious and transfer of the airborne viruses can spread through sneezing and coughing.  Viral conjunctivitis is not a bacterial infection.

If you suspect a baby has conjunctivitis please seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Viral Conjunctivitis - Symptoms

• Pink eyes or intense red eyes

• Burning feeling in the eyes

• Gritty sensation in the eyes

• Itchy sensation in the eyes

• Sensitivity to bright lights

• Watery discharge in both eyes

• Blurred vision if the cornea becomes affected (clear layer over the iris, the coloured part of your eyes)

• You may feel run down, your body may feel tired/exhausted

• Swollen throat glands

• Sore throat or recent sore throat

• Recent or current cold

• Recent or current chest infection

Viral Conjunctivitis - Causes

The most common cause of viral conjunctivitis is infection with adenovirus, the group of viruses that cause the common cold and many other upper respiratory infections.

• Recent cold

• Recent chest infection or upper respiratory tract infection

• Poor hygiene

• Hand to eye contamination

• Airborne transfer of virus through coughing and sneezing

Viral Conjunctivitis - Treatments

Viral conjunctivitis is usually self-limiting, and resolves within 1-2 weeks. Viral conjunctivitis does not require pharmacological treatments. Day 3 to 5, are likely to be when viral conjunctivitis will be at its worst with improvement thereafter. Please remember that viral conjunctivitis is very contagious, it is advised that you stay away from others until it resolves. Please note antibiotics will not work or resolve viral conjunctivitis.

• Clean the watery discharge from your eyes using sterile preservative free lid wipes

• Cold compresses for your eyes

• Preservative free lubricating eye drops or gels can be used as and when required

• Antihistamine eye drops can be used to reduce the itchy feeling in your eyes

• Rest and stay away from others

Please also follow the advice below

• Stop contact lens wear until the viral conjunctivitis resolves

• Do not share towels, face cloths or tissues

• Do not share makeup

• Do not share eye drops or eye gels

• Do not share contact lenses

• Wash your hands before & after touching your face and eyes

• Use disinfecting hand wash

• Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, then wash your hands

• Clean communal services on a regular basis