Skip to Content
Home > Health Information > Health Library > Viral Pinkeye
Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) is redness and swelling of the mucous membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the eyelid and eye surface. The most common type (adenovirus) is caused by a virus and occurs most often in adults, occasionally causing a sore throat at the same time that pinkeye symptoms occur.
Sometimes children with virus-caused upper respiratory infections develop pinkeye as a separate, bacterial infection. Viral and bacterial pinkeye are contagious and spread very easily.
Pinkeye is very common. It usually is not serious and goes away in 7 to 10 days without medical treatment. But it may last up to 3 weeks and can become ongoing (chronic).
The symptoms usually start in one eye and may then spread to the other eye. Besides redness and swelling in the eye, symptoms of viral pinkeye include:
Home treatment helps reduce pain, keeps the eye free of drainage, and helps prevent the spread of infection. Home treatment includes:
Current as of:
June 26, 2019
Medical Review:William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
See important information from Billings Clinic on Non-discrimination and Interpreter Services.
Billings Clinic is proud to be an equal opportunity/affirmative action (EOE/AA) e-verify employer.