What infections cause pinkeye, what are infectious pinkeye symptoms, and how are they treated?

Viral pinkeye

The leading cause of a red, inflamed eye is viral infection. Adenoviruses are the type of virus that is most commonly responsible for the infection. Other viruses that can cause pinkeye include herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), poxvirus (molluscum contagiosum, vaccinia), picornavirus (enterovirus 70, Coxsackie A24), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Viral pinkeye symptoms are usually associated with more of a watery discharge from the eye that is not green or yellow in color. The discharge may resemble an increase in tears. Viral pinkeye is most common in late fall and early spring. Often, viral "cold-like" symptoms, such as sinus congestion and runny nose, are also present. The eyelids may be swollen and the inner eyelids reddened. Sometimes looking at bright lights is painful so that the individual experiences sensitivity to light.

While viral pinkeye may not require an antibiotic, those affected should see a doctor, as occasionally this form of pinkeye can be associated with infection of the cornea (the clear portion of the front of the eyeball). This infection must be correctly detected and treated. Viral pinkeye is highly contagious and typically remains contagious for 10 to 12 days after the onset of symptoms. The symptoms of viral pinkeye can last one to two weeks. Symptoms are pronounced for the first three to five days after symptoms appear, with slow resolution over the following one to two weeks. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 2/19/2015
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