Q. Viral conjunctivitis spreaded from right to left eye. Should I protect my right eye from reinfection?

Answered by
Dr. Dadapeer. K
and medically reviewed by Dr.Nithila A
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 15, 2019 and last reviewed on: Nov 02, 2022

Hello doctor,

I am a 41-year-old female and have been diagnosed with viral conjunctivitis by a specialist. My eye health is otherwise perfect (had them checked out a week before this came on). After a few days, it spread to the other eye. I expect the first eye will heal first, even though the second eye is not as bad. One question is when the first eye heals, do I need to protect it from re-infection from the one that is still healing?

Also, on the typical length of healing, I am not quite at two weeks yet (this is day 11 for the first eye), but the lack of improvement in my condition is becoming frustrating to me. Today the vision in the first eye is smudgy, and the vision in the second eye is better, but not perfect. The specialist was aware of the vision problems, and she said that it was normal (though I think they have worsened).

I was told this could take weeks to heal, beyond the normal one or two. How many weeks are weeks generally? I was told I have a mild to moderate case, but all I know is that I have seen no real progress, and I think the virus might have even spread to one of my sinuses. My mental health is suffering from not knowing how long I am going to be cooped up, partially visually impaired and contagious. Am I impatient or should I have them looked at by a specialist again?



Welcome to

I reviewed your history. It seems from the history that you are having viral conjunctivitis involving both the eyes. Coming to your first question, viral conjunctivitis remains infective in the initial three to five days hence no need to worry about the reinfection from the one eye that is still healing. Usually, viral conjunctivitis follows a self-limiting course of 7 to 10 days. Since you are having vision problems in the eye, probably it has involved cornea resulting in viral keratoconjunctivitis.

If it has involved the cornea, it takes about three to four weeks to heal. However, the involvement of cornea is not because of infection, but because of immunologically mediated reaction, hence it will resolve even without treatment. However, symptomatic relief can be obtained by using artificial tears, and some severe cases may require the use of steroid eye drops under the supervision of your eye doctor. If possible, send a photo of the affected eye so that I can confirm the diagnosis and answer your question more accurately. I hope the information is helpful to you.

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