Pink eye lasts for more than 24 hours. It is difficult to determine exactly the duration of pink eye takes unless the source of the infection is known.
According to AllAboutVision.com, pink eye caused by a virus or bacteria lasts for several days or weeks. For example, pink eye symptoms caused by the rubeola virus last for two weeks or more. People with pink eye should take more than one day off work or school, because the pink eye virus affects normal functioning for more than one day. According to WebMD, pink eye symptoms start to improve after three to five days of treatment.