Viral Pink Eye Treatment: Know it All

Amisha Jain
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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viral pink eye treatment

Viral pink eye, also called viral conjunctivitis, is a self-limiting condition.

It usually resolves itself within two weeks without any antiviral medications.

Viruses are responsible for 80% of cases of acute conjunctivitis.

Hence, it becomes crucial to know how to eliminate the infection without spreading it further.

Viral pink eye treatments generally aim to provide symptomatic relief and reduce the duration of the illness.

In addition, there are some ways you can take care of yourself and ensure it doesn’t spread further.

Keep reading to know all about viral pink eye treatment.

Medications for viral pink eye

A child taking eye drop for pink eyeSource: BravissimoS_from_Getty_Images
pink eye medication

Doctors usually prescribe the following medications to aid in relieving viral pink eye symptoms.

They reduce the discomfort the patient experiences and expedite the healing process.


The contagiousness of viral pink eye is reported to reduce with the topical administration of Povidone-iodine.

It especially holds for the pink eye caused by Adenovirus. 

Adenoviruses cause between 65% and 90% of cases of Viral Conjunctivitis

Povidone-iodine is an anti-viral agent which, when given in a concentration of 0.8%, is effective and causes little cytotoxicity.

Antiviral agents

Doctors usually prescribe anti-viral medications for treating more serious forms of viral pink eye.

Your doctor might prescribe topical anti-viral medication if the Herpes Simplex Virus or Varicella-zoster virus causes your pink eye.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help reduce inflammation, redness, and itching.

Your doctor might recommend you use NSAIDs and eye drops to help with the symptoms.

Ns Aid Eye drop is an anti-inflammatory medication that contains Diclofenac Sodium, reducing discomfort.


One of the most commonly prescribed classes of medications in ophthalmology is corticosteroids.

They are widely used to treat inflammatory diseases of the eyes.

Although there is no proven cure for adenoviral Conjunctivitis, Topical Corticosteroids may help to reduce the symptoms.

It may also prevent scarring in severe cases.

However, Corticosteroids should be used cautiously in viral pink eye treatment as they can prolong the infection. 

Also Read: Natural remedies along with treatment help to get rid away of viral pink eye faster. Read “Viral Pink Eye Remedy: Relief Without Medication” to know about the best remedies.


Symptoms caused by the subepithelial infiltrates, a common sequel of adenoviral conjunctivitis, can be alleviated using Topical tacrolimus.

1% cyclosporine A has also shown efficacy in treating the same.

If you have an infection in just one eye, make sure you do not use the same drops in the unaffected eye.
Using the same drops is likely to cause the virus to spread.


Since viral pink eye heals itself in a week or two without any treatment, self-care becomes essential.

Following are certain things that can help reduce your symptoms and provide relief.

Cold compresses

Viral Pink Eye
Viral Pink Eye

Cold compresses are one way to relieve pink eye, swelling, eye pain, and inflammation.

They might not heal your pink eye, but they do provide relaxation and helps reduce the symptoms of the infection.

The following are some ways you can make a cold compress at home.

  • Drench a handkerchief in cool water and apply it gently to your eyes.
  • Freeze a clean and damp towel in the freezer for some time before applying it over your eyes.
  • Put small pieces of ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a clean washcloth and use it on the eyes.

Do not apply ice directly on the skin.

You can, however, repeat the treatment every few hours if needed.

Artificial tears

Artificial tears are eye drops that help to lubricate the eyes.

They help relieve the symptoms of viral pink eye, like itching, redness, and burning sensation.

They also help get rid of allergens that cause conjunctivitis.

Your doctor might recommend specific concentrations and dosing.

But you can also buy artificial tears over the counter.

Recommended reading :
You can buy artificial tear/ Ophthalmic Lubricant, Eyemist Eye Drop from WowRxPharmacy at a reasonable price.

Apart from the abovementioned ways, the following are a few more pointers to remember.

  • Avoid wearing makeup on the infected eye.
  • Do not wear contact lenses till the infection has not subsided.


Considering how contagious viral pink eye is, it becomes important to take appropriate hygiene measures to inhibit the further spread of the virus.

Since viral conjunctivitis can spread through contact, you must wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water.

Also, avoid rubbing or even touching your eyes.

The infected person should not share their pillows, towels, and such personal belonging with others.

Someone with viral pink eye should avoid being in a crowd to prevent others from the infection. 


Viral pink eye is contagious but does not always need treatment. 

It usually clears up on its own in a week or two.

Viral pink eye treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms that cause discomfort.

This includes cold compress, artificial tears, NSAIDs, etc.

Apart from these, preventive measures to stop the spread of infection are important.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does viral pink eye last?

Viral pink eye is a self-limiting condition and typically heals itself in a week or two. However, in some cases, it can take up to three weeks or more to subside. Your doctor might prescribe medications for severe forms of pink eye.

Is viral pink eye contagious?

Viral pink eye is highly contagious. It spreads quickly from person to person. The infection can spread through touch or contact. But it is usually mild and does not cause any long-term consequences.

Do I need antibiotics for pink eye?

You do not need antibiotics for viral pink eye because antibiotics do not kill viruses. Allergic pink eye also doesn’t need antibiotics. They are, however, recommended for cases of bacterial pink eye that are not mild.

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