treatment of viral conjunctivitis

Last reviewed 07/2021

Most cases are self-limiting and resolve within 1-2 weeks. Chloramphenicol eye drops may be applied to prevent secondary bacterial infection.

Hypromellose drops may provide a simple (and soothing) eyewash.

Steroids are contraindicated for herpetic infection as they convert the disease to a severe, greatly prolonged process.

Acyclovir treatment is of use in herpes simplex and varicella zoster.

§ adenoviral conjunctivitis

  • viral replication is seen until two weeks after the onset of symptoms
  • avoid close direct and indirect contact for two weeks (1)


  1. Leibowitz HM.The Red Eye Leibowitz HM. NEJM 2000; 343:345.
  2. Prescribers' Journal 2000; 40 (2); 130-137.