Conjunctivitis will normally get better on its own, without any medical treatment, in around one to two weeks. Symptoms that accompany viral conjunctivitis include a burning sensation in the eye, itch, redness, and clear watery discharge. Symptoms include irritation, photophobia, and watery discharge. Viral conjunctivitis causes a watery discharge, while the discharge from bacterial conjunctivitis contains pus. There are mainly the viral and the bacterial conjunctivitis, which affect dominantly, and it is important to understand the basic differences between these two types of infection to make sure that the diagnosis and the treatment are on point. Spreading the infection. The most common cause of viral conjunctivitis is adenovirus (65–90% of cases). Crusting on eyelids can occur. Viral conjunctivitis is a highly contagious acute conjunctival infection usually caused by adenovirus. Viral conjunctivitis is usually spread through hand-eye contact. The conjunctiva is the thin, transparent layer that lines the front of the sclera (white part of the eye) and the inner surface of the eyelids. Depending on the strain, the infection can spread quite easily in public places. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis Most cases of pink eye are typically caused by adenovirus but can also be caused by herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus, and various other viruses, including the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Bathing and cleaning the eyelids with sterile pads and clean water, or sterile wipes, is normally all that is needed. Other viral causes include Herpes simplex, Varicella zoster, Molluscum contagiosum, Epstein-Barr, coxsackie and enteroviruses. Viral conjunctivitis is usually present in only one eye (before, sometimes, spreading to the other), which will be excessively watery and sensitive to light. An estimated 50% of the cases become bilateral due to self-inoculation. Viral conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye) is the inflammation of the conjunctiva when it is caused by infection with a virus. Causes. Diagnosis is clinical; sometimes viral cultures or immunodiagnostic testing is indicated. Learn about the differences between viral and bacterial conjunctivitis based on the causes, symptoms and treatment. Viral conjunctivitis normally causes a watery discharge; Treatment. An eye swab can also determine the cause of the infection (read more about diagnosing conjunctivitis). 2. Bacterial conjunctivitis. Caused by highly contagious but common airborne viruses. Viral conjunctivitis is the most common cause of conjunctivitis, accounting for up to 80% of all cases; the majority of cases are caused by adenovirus..