What Are the Types of Conjunctivitis?

Young,Girl,Suffering,From,Eyes,Pain,And,Feeling,Something,In You wake up in the morning with a red, itchy eye. It’s oozing a bit of goop, or it’s sealed shut. Is it pink eye or something else? This common occurrence happens due to a condition known as conjunctivitis, which causes redness and swelling of the eye. Yet you may not know that conjunctivitis has multiple causes, and the treatment depends on the cause. Here’s a closer look at the three types of pink eye and what you can do about them.


Viral pink eye is due to respiratory infections and cold viruses that travel to the eye. Because the eye is so close to the nasal passages, this transfer of viral infection to the eye is quite common. This type of pink eye can be quite uncomfortable, but it won’t respond to bacterial eye drops. For most people, the best treatment is simply waiting out the virus and allowing the immune system to do its job.

Viral pink eye tends to cause a watery discharge. It’s rarely thick and green, and it may not cause the eyes to seal shut.


Bacterial pink eye is due to a bacterial infection in the eye. This type of conjunctivitis is quite common in children, but it can also happen in adults. It may happen at the same time as a bacterial respiratory infection, and it often occurs at the same time as an ear infection.

Someone with bacterial pink eye will have a thick, green discharge from the eyes. It’s common for them to wake up with their eyes sealed shut due to the discharge. This type of pink eye responds well to bacterial eye drops. It’s highly contagious until the patient has been on drops for 24 hours.


Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the eyes get red and watery due to allergies. This type of eye irritation is quite itchy. It may have other signs of allergy, such as eczema or seasonal allergy respiratory symptoms.

Allergies causing pink eye symptoms may not cause much discharge, and if they do, it’s not thick and sticky. Antihistamine eye drops and OTC antihistamine medication work well for this type of conjunctivitis.

Get Your Pink Eye Checked by a Doctor

If you have pink eye symptoms, the only way to know for sure the cause is with a visit to the doctor. Schedule an appointment with Southside Eye Care today by filling out our contact form or calling 757-484-0101.


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