Though a sore throat isn’t always a hallmark of pink eye, the two can sometimes go together. Here’s what it means when conjunctivitis is accompanied by a sore throat.

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Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the moist, transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the eyeball. If you’ve ever had pink eye, you may know its symptoms, which can include:

  • red, swollen eyes
  • itching in the eyes
  • yellow or milky discharge from one or both eyes
  • crusting of the eyes, especially after sleep
  • a feeling of grittiness in the eyes
  • excessive tearing

In some cases, viruses and bacteria that cause pink eye can create issues not only in the eyes but in the throat as well. When your case of conjunctivitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, your body may respond with cold-like symptoms, including a swollen, painful throat.

If you’re experiencing pink eye and a sore throat, you may have eye symptoms like the ones listed above plus a feeling of rawness, scratchiness, dryness, or pain in the back of your throat.

You might also experience other cold-like symptoms, such as:

Learn more about pink eye (conjunctivitis).

When a case of goopy, crust eyes is accompanied by throat pain, it typically indicates that your body is fighting a viral or bacterial infection. Multiple types of viruses and bacteria can cause both eye irritation and cold-like symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some viruses that can cause pink eye include:

Meanwhile, bacteria that may underlie a case of pink eye may include:

Pink eye with or without sore throat often clears up on its own within 1 to 2 weeks. But your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or antibiotic eye drops if they suspect that your pink eye is a result of a bacterial infection.

If your doctor confirms herpesvirus as the cause of your pink eye, they may prescribe antiviral medications.

To soothe your sore throat, you may want to try over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

Home remedies typically address pink eye and a sore throat separately.

To quell the unpleasant symptoms of pink eye, the American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests:

Or try placing a warm, damp washcloth over your eyes for a few minutes at a time, leaving the washcloth in place until it cools. Use a fresh, clean washcloth each time.

To soothe a sore throat at home, try the following:

The underlying cause of pink eye with a sore throat is typically a viral or bacterial infection. As the body attempts to clear the infection, it can cause symptoms in both the throat and the eyes. In some cases, pink eye with a sore throat may also be related to seasonal allergies.

In adults, pink eye and a sore throat may last for 1 to 2 weeks.

If you have an infant with pink eye symptoms, contact a doctor or healthcare professional. Some causes of pink eye in newborns and infants may be serious and require immediate treatment.

You’re more likely to develop pink eye and a sore throat if you have risk factors for viral or bacterial infection. These include:

Most likely, pink eye with a sore throat is the result of a viral or bacterial infection. To diagnose the infection, your doctor may swab your throat or nose or take a blood sample to determine which virus or bacteria is causing your symptoms.

They may also ask whether you’ve experienced additional symptoms like a runny nose or swollen lymph nodes.

Is pink eye common with strep throat?

Strep throat is an infection caused by the group A Streptococcus bacteria. If you have pink eye and throat pain, it’s unlikely that you have strep throat. According to the CDC, pink eye with a sore throat more often suggests a viral infection, not strep.

Can pink eye be a symptom of COVID-19?

Though it’s rare for pink eye to be a symptom of COVID-19, it is possible. A 2021 study followed the case of an individual whose only COVID-19 symptom was conjunctivitis of both eyes.

Does pink eye cause a fever?

As the body attempts to rid itself of whatever virus or bacteria is causing pink eye, it can cause a fever. A fever is often defined as any temperature above 100.4°F (38°C).

The combination of goopy, crusty eyes, and a painful throat is typically caused by viruses or bacteria that create cold-like symptoms. Most cases are likely to resolve on their own within a short time frame.

If your symptoms worsen or you don’t see improvement within 1 to 2 weeks, seek medical attention.