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How Long Does Pink Eye Last? Unveiling the Facts

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Pink eyes, also known as Conjunctivitis, are often caused due to viruses, bacteria, and allergies.

While not all kinds of pink eyes are contagious in nature, each might take a certain amount of time to get treated.

Hence, ‘How long does pink eye last?’ is a popular discussion among individuals.

Under usual circumstances, pink eyes usually take one to two weeks for the contagious nature to go away, and it may differ for allergic Conjunctivitis.

This article will discuss how long pink eye lasts and how to treat it in detail.

How Long Does Pink Eye Last

The duration for which pink eye will last in a person depends on the pink eye causes and how they are treated.

Bacterial pink eye usually takes 5 to 7 days to be treated with the help of Antibiotics.

On the other hand, the contagious nature of viral pink eye may last up to two weeks.

People with allergic pink eye might notice their condition improving as soon as they move away from the allergen.

This section will discuss how long it takes to treat these different kinds of pink eyes.

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  • Viral Pink Eye

    Bacterial pink eyeSource: Siganture_image
    Closeup of a woman suffering pink eye

    Viral pink is the most common type of Conjunctivitis and is usually caused by Adenovirus.

    According to a study, the viral pink eye remains highly contagious in nature for about 10-14 days.

    Another study states that although it takes 1 to 2 weeks to get better without pink eye medications, sometimes it might take more than three weeks or more to heal.

    Since Antibiotics are ineffective in treating viral pink eye symptoms, doctors usually ask individuals to let viral Conjunctivitis run its course.

    Do you want to explore more about the symptoms of viral pink eye? For proper information, read Understanding Viral Pink Eye Symptoms: A Comprehensive Guide.

    The viruses usually survive on a given surface for 24 to 48 hours. Some viruses can even last up to 8 weeks. Hence, it is always advisable to maintain hygiene to treat the viral Conjunctivitis quickly.

    Bacterial Pink Eye

    Bacterial Conjunctivitis is usually caused by bacteria such as Streptococcus or Staphylococcus.

    The bacterial pink eye often lasts for a period until the bacterial infection is treated, which usually happens after Antibiotic treatment.

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) states that usually, most bacteria die within 2 to 8 hours.

    However, some cases might take two or more days, making this pink eye contagious.

    Hence, the condition often improves in 2 to 5 days without any treatment but can last up to 2 weeks to heal completely.

    Want to know how long pink eye stays contagious? To learn, read How Long is Pink Eye Contagious: Contagious Period Explained.

    Allergic Pink Eye

    According to a study, about 10 to 30% of the general population often faces allergic Conjunctivitis.

    A person often experiences allergic pink eye due to allergens like pollen and dust particles.

    Since it does not cause any infections, the symptoms of this condition last until the allergen is removed from the eyes or surroundings.

    Once the allergen is removed, the symptoms might go away within a few hours or a maximum of 24 hours.

    Treating Pink Eyes

    Using eyedrop (Artificial tears)Source: tirc83_from_Getty_Images
    A man using artificial tears eyedrop

    The treatment of pink eyes often depends on the factors that are causing the condition.

    There is no proven treatment for viral pink eyes, and hence, doctors might suggest eye drops to relieve symptoms like irritation, itching, and redness.

    In some cases, medical experts suggest cold compresses to reduce the discomfort.

    Research states that doctors prescribe Antibiotic eye drops to treat bacterial infections, which treat bacterial pink eyes.

    Since pink eyes due to allergies can cause irritation and dry eyes, using artificial tear drops and rinsing one’s eyes can be beneficial.

    In these cases, eye drops that reduce the inflammation of one’s eyes can also be effective.

    If you are facing any symptoms of pink eyes, it is best to consult your doctor immediately.

    Since every type of pink eye has a separate treatment, it is always best to consult a doctor before using any medication for the condition. This will help in proper diagnosis and reduce any threat to your vision.


    If you are wondering, ‘How long does pink eye last?’, it always depends on the cause of this eye condition.

    If a person has viral pink eye, it usually lasts 1-2 weeks and sometimes might take more than three weeks to heal completely.

    Bacterial Conjunctivitis usually lasts 2 to 5 days and might take up to 2 weeks to fully get treated.

    Allergic pink eyes usually last for hours after removing the allergen causing the allergic reaction.

    In some cases, it might take up to 24 hours to get relief from the symptoms of allergic Conjunctivitis.

    While artificial tear drops can help relieve the symptoms of viral and allergic pink eyes, Antibiotics are the best option for bacterial Conjunctivitis.

    If you are experiencing pink eye symptoms, it is always best to consult your doctor for proper treatment.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long does pink eye last without treatment?

    In the case of viral pink eye, it can last from 7 to 14 days without any treatment. Sometimes, it can take three weeks or more to be treated. Bacterial Conjunctivitis may last for seven days or more, while allergic Conjunctivitis might last as long as the allergen is present.

    How long does pink eye last with Antibiotics?

    With antibiotic treatment, bacterial infection may last for 2 to 3 days. However, the timeframe might vary in individuals, and it may sometimes take longer than a week to be treated completely.

    Can pink eye go away in 3 days?

    Yes, the bacterial infection that causes bacterial pink eye can go away in 3 days with an effective Antibiotic treatment. However, it may take two weeks to heal fully.

    How long does bacterial pink eye last?

    Bacterial pink eye usually lasts two to five days without proper treatment. However, depending on the severity, the time frame may increase to 2 weeks for its complete healing.

    How long does allergic pink eye last?

    An allergic pink eye usually lasts as long as the allergen is present in the affected person’s eyes or surroundings. After removing the allergen, the irritation may take up to a few hours to completely disappear. In some cases, it might take up to 24 hours.

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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