The Key Differences Between Bacterial and Viral Conjunctivitis Hero

The Key Differences Between Bacterial and Viral Conjunctivitis

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Conjunctiva is a thin membrane that covers the front surface of eyes and the inner part of the eyelids. Its primary function is to protect the eye from dust, debris and infection-causing microorganisms. Conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye), however, occurs when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed. This eye problem comes in two forms: the bacterial and viral conjunctivitis.

The Key Differences Between Bacterial and Viral Conjunctivitis

Your macular degeneration doctors from Clear View Vision Care explains the main differences between these two types of conjunctivitis.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

This type of conjunctivitis is triggered by different bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. You can also get bacterial conjunctivitis through contact between an infected individual and exposure to contaminated surfaces.

To eliminate bacterial infection, the patient should take antibiotics prescribed by their doctor. After the eye exam, your eye care specialist may also suggest eye drops or ointments. It usually takes one to two weeks to treat bacterial conjunctivitis, depending on how severe the infection.

Viral Conjunctivitis

Airborne viruses can spread by sneezing and coughing, which can cause viral conjunctivitis. Infection usually starts in one eye but quickly spreads to the other eye. Unlike bacterial conjunctivitis, this type of pink eye does not respond to antibiotics. People with viral conjunctivitis may also experience eye itchiness and light sensitivity. Watery eyes are also common.

Viral conjunctivitis, however, is self-limited, which means it will be gone after a short time even without treatment. Eye doctors can recommend eye drops to reduce the symptoms. Vasoconstrictors, for instance, can help whiten the eye. Decongestants, on the other hand, can minimize the swelling of the eyes.

Turn to Clear View Vision Care to detect whether you have conjunctivitis or dry eyes. Call us today at (520) 394-6111 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment. We serve residents of Tucson, AZ.


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  • Written by Jeffrey Martin

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