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What are the differences between bacterial and viral conjunctivitis?

Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are similar, but differ in several key ways. First, bacterial conjunctivitis can be cured with antibiotics, while the viral form cannot. Second, there is a slight variation in symptoms. With viral conjunctivitis, the discharge from the eye is clearer and less thick than with the bacterial infection. Viral conjunctivitis can also cause painful swelling in the lymph node nearest the ear, a symptom not experienced with bacterial conjunctivitis.

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