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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
Table 4 Topical Antibiotic Dosing1
Medication One drop in affected eye two to three times a day for seven days. Tobramycin Mild/moderate infection: One to two drops in the affected eye every four hours for seven to 10 days.Severe infection: Two drops in the affected eye hourly until improvement, then one to two drops every four hours for seven to 10 days.
Discontinue therapy immediately and avoid the use of fluoroquinolones in patients who experience any of these serious adverse reactions. Because fluoroquinolones have been associated with serious adverse reactions, reserve fluoroquinolones for use in patients who have no alternative.35-40
Miscellaneous topical antimicrobials. Commonly used topical antibiotics include Polytrim , fluoroquinolones such as ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin or Vigamox , and tobramycin. While this does not represent a complete list of available agents, it does highlight reasonable choices for the topical treatment of acute bacterial conjunctivitis, since they are applied directly to the infected organ.1-4 These agents are typically considered safe for patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In general, adverse effects are minimal and may include eye redness, eye irritation and allergy.
Keeping all of these things in mind will help to ensure that the patient is cured and that few to no resistant bacteria have been let loose in the world. Both of these are important factors for a successful treatment plan.
When To Contact Your Eye Doctor
Contact an eye doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of an eye infection. Many eye infections can be treated quickly with medical care, but it is always best to obtain a proper diagnosis as early as possible.
LEARN MORE: Guide to Eye Conditions
The earlier an infection is treated, the sooner you will begin to feel better.
Seek emergency medical attention if symptoms are severe any eye pain or loss of vision requires immediate care.
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Which Antibiotics Are Best For Accelerating Resolution Of Bacterial Conjunctivitis
lists the antibiotics studied, along with their microbial coverage, mechanism of action, and availability. The systematic review concluded that there is no clear best choice for topical antibiotics local microbiological resistance patterns, cost, dosing regimens, and other patient factors are important considerations in addition to efficacy. Results from randomized controlled trials are varied, but many found similar clinical and microbiologic efficacy among the topical antibiotics used. Some studies found faster bacterial eradication and/or clinical recovery with fluoroquinolones, azithromycin, or netilimicin compared with the more traditional antibiotics, such as tobramycin or polymyxin B/trimethoprim or gentamicin. Some studies found differences in patient compliance with different antibiotics. Microbiologic resistance patterns can also vary and would affect efficacy rates.
How Can You Prevent An Eye Infection
Follow these guidelines to decrease your risk of developing an eye infection, and to keep viral infections from recurring:
- Avoid contact with anyone who has conjunctivitis.
- Dont touch your eyes or face with dirty hands.
- Wash your hands frequently and bathe regularly.
- Use clean tissues and towels on your eyes.
- Wash your bedding every week.
- Avoid sharing eye and face makeup.
- Ensure that your contact lenses fit properly.
- Disinfect contact lenses every day.
- Follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
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Symptoms And Signs Of Acute Bacterial Conjunctivitis
Symptoms are typically unilateral but frequently spread to the opposite eye within a few days. Discharge is typically purulent.
The bulbar and tarsal conjunctivae are intensely hyperemic and edematous. Petechial subconjunctival hemorrhages, chemosis, photophobia, and an enlarged preauricular lymph node are typically absent. Eyelid edema is often moderate.
With adult gonococcal conjunctivitis, symptoms develop 12 to 48 hours after exposure. Severe eyelid edema, chemosis, and a profuse purulent exudate are typical. Rare complications include corneal ulceration, abscess, perforation, panophthalmitis, and blindness.
Ophthalmia neonatorum caused by gonococcal infection appears 2 to 5 days after delivery. With ophthalmia neonatorum caused by a chlamydial infection, symptoms appear within 5 to 14 days. Symptoms of both are bilateral, intense papillary conjunctivitis with eyelid edema, chemosis, and mucopurulent discharge.
Who Needs Antibiotics To Treat Pink Eye
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the signature symptom of bacterial pink eye is a greenish discharge that lasts all day.
If youve been experiencing this discharge in addition to symptoms of redness and itching, you may have bacterial pink eye. This type of pink eye is less common than viral pink eye, but its not rare.
Antibiotics can work to treat bacterial pink eye. But even when bacteria are causing your pink eye, it will most likely clear up on its own after a couple of days.
For this reason, doctors dont always prescribe antibiotics right away to treat bacterial pink eye.
Your doctor may recommend antibiotics if:
- you have a weakened immune system due to another health condition
- your symptoms are very severe
- your symptoms have persisted for a week or more
Some schools have a policy that requires children or employees with pink eye to be treated with antibiotics before they can return.
Antibiotics for pink eye typically come in the form of eye drops. These medications are by prescription only.
A of studies found that the choice of antibiotic often didnt matter. They all have similar effectiveness.
Below are a few types of antibiotics that your doctor may prescribe.
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Treatment Of Acute Bacterial Conjunctivitis
Bacterial conjunctivitis is very contagious, and standard infection control measures should be followed.
To avoid transmitting infection, physicians must
Use hand sanitizer or wash their hands properly
Disinfect equipment after examining patients
Patients should do the following:
Use hand sanitizer and/or wash their hands thoroughly after touching their eyes or nasal secretions
Avoid touching the noninfected eye after touching the infected eye
Avoid sharing towels or pillows
Avoid swimming in pools
nor chlamydial Chlamydial, Mycoplasmal, and Ureaplasmal Mucosal Infections Sexually transmitted urethritis, cervicitis, proctitis, and pharyngitis not due to gonorrhea are caused predominantly by chlamydiae and infrequently by mycoplasmas or Ureaplasma sp. Chlamydiae… read more infection is suspected, most clinicians treat presumptively with moxifloxacin 0.5% drops 3 times a day for 7 to 10 days or another fluoroquinolone or trimethoprim/polymyxin B 4 times a day. A poor clinical response after 2 or 3 days indicates that the cause is resistant bacteria, a virus, or an allergy. Culture and sensitivity studies should then be done results direct subsequent treatment.
What Are Common Side Effects Of Pinkeye Medications
Side effects of ophthalmic antibiotic ointments or drops used to treat pinkeye include temporary stinging or burning of the eyes when first applied and temporary blurred or unstable vision after applying eye ointment. More serious side effects include rash, itching or burning eyes, redness/pain or swelling in or around the eyes, and vision problems.
Side effects of antihistamines include dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, restlessness or moodiness , trouble urinating, blurred vision, or confusion. Ophthalmic mast cell stabilizers may cause burning, stinging, or blurred vision when applied.
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Alternative Remedies For Pink Eye
There are some homeopathic eye drops, such as Similasan Allergy Eye Relief, available online and in some pharmacies. Some small studies have shown these to be effective. However, these were not controlled, scientific studies validating the results according to Healio.com. It is essential to speak with your doctor before trying any homeopathic treatments.
When To See A Doctor About Conjunctivitis
Its important to see a doctor if you have symptoms that last longer than two days, or if your eye is swollen and painful. If you have a bacterial infection in your eye, it can sometimes be treated with antibiotic drops. More severe cases might require oral antibiotics or even hospitalization. Since conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, environmental irritants, or other infections such as trachoma or diphtheria, see a doctor if youre unsure of whats causing your symptoms. Left untreated, conjunctivitis can lead to more serious complications like permanent vision loss. An ophthalmologist is an optometrist who specializes in conditions of the eyes and vision disorders such as conjunctivitis.
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What Is The Fastest Way To Cure An Eye Infection
Salt water, or saline, is one of the most effective home remedies for eye infections. Saline is similar to teardrops, which is your eyes way of naturally cleansing itself. Salt also has antimicrobial properties. Because of this, it only stands to reason that saline can treat eye infections effectively.
Antibiotics For Bacterial Conjunctivitis
Antibiotic eye drops or eye ointment may help to clear up the infection more quickly. However, they are not always needed, and many cases of mild bacterial conjunctivitis will resolve on their own, without antibiotic treatment.
Topical antibiotics are typically recommended for more severe or persistent cases of bacterial conjunctivitis, with eye drops usually preferred over ointments for ease of use.
Less commonly, where the cause of bacterial conjunctivitis is chlamydia or gonorrhea, a course of oral or injected antibiotics may be necessary.
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Eye Drops Or Ointment
Before using chloramphenicol, tell you doctor if you’re using other eye drops or ointment, or if you normally wear contact lenses. It’s also important to speak to your doctor if you have:
- any problems with your eyesight, or severe eye pain
- swollen eyes, and a rash on your face or head
- a cloudy eye
- are allergic to polyethylene glycol
What If I Forget To Take It
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s nearly time for your next dose. In this case, just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.
Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember your medicines.
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Other Aspects Of The History
A recent upper respiratory tract infection in the patient’s home, school or workplace suggests a diagnosis of infectious conjunctivitis, especially of adenoviral origin. Chlamydial or gonococcal infection may be suggested by the patient’s sexual history, including a history of urethral discharge.
The physician should also inquire about the patient’s use of systemic and over-the-counter topical medications , as well as the use of cosmetics and contact lenses, since any of these can produce acute or chronic conjunctivitis.2 Most patients do not regard nonprescription eye medications as possible causes of ocular problems. Therefore, unless questioned directly, they generally do not volunteer information about their use of these medications.
A history of collagen vascular disease or the use of diuretics or antidepressant medications should alert the physician to the possibility of dry eyes.
Bacitracin Polymyxin B And Neomycin
Neomycin is an aminoglycoside, which, like polymyxin, is not found as a stand-alone drug. It is always found in a combination formulation. Neomycin works to inhibit protein synthesis and is inherently broad spectrum, with the notable exception of Pseudomonas species . Neomycin is an excellent drug, but it is mostly known for its potential to cause a Type IV delayed hypersensitivity reaction, which is manifested as a low-grade blepharoconjunctivitis, with variable expression of inflammatory blepharodermatitis. This red, weepy skin reaction can easily be reversed by drug cessation. Such so-called neomycin reactions occur in 5 to 10% of treated patients, and is nothing more than an inconvenience.
This triple antibiotic is an excellent, broad-spectrum drug that is available generically in both solution and ointment form. Because of solubility issues, gramicidin replaces bacitracin in the solution form. Gramicidin and bacitracin are clinical equivalents in combating gram-positive bacteria.
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Prevention Of Bacterial Conjunctivitis
While it may not always be possible to prevent bacterial conjunctivitis, taking the following steps can help to reduce the likelihood of an infection:
- Avoiding contact with people who have pink eye
- Maintaining good hygiene, such as washing your hands often with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer
- Avoiding touching your eyes when your hands are not clean
If you have bacterial conjunctivitis, the following actions can help avoid spreading the infection to others:
- Maintaining good hygiene, such as washing your hands often with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer, especially after treating the eyes
- Cleaning your spectacles
- Avoiding touching the eyes other than when treating them, as this can spread the bacteria
- Washing pillowcases and towels often and avoiding sharing them with others
- Avoiding sharing makeup and eye drops
- When necessary, staying off school or work until symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis have cleared this is generally when the eyes are no longer red and irritated
- Avoiding the use of swimming pools
In addition, contact lenses should not be worn until symptoms have cleared, and a new pair used when the infection has gone away. Some makeup may also need to be discarded and replaced to prevent reinfection.
What Is Pink Eye
Pink eye is most common in young children, however, people of any age can get pink eye, according to KidsHealth.org. Pink eye is highly contagious and can quickly spread in schools and playgrounds as well as from one family member to another.
Viral and bacterial infections are the most common causes of pink eye. Still, it can also be caused by allergies or irritants, such as a foreign body in the eyes, chlorine in pools, or smoke. The same bacteria that cause chlamydia and gonorrhea can also cause pink eye.
Pink eye symptoms can vary, depending on the cause. Common symptoms, according to John Hopkins Medicine, include:
- Red eyes
- Flu-like symptoms including cough, sore throat, fatigue
There are several different forms of conjunctivitis. These include:
Most cases of pink eye, including bacterial conjunctivitis, will resolve on their own without treatment in seven to 14 days, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Most treatments are meant to relieve discomfort however, antibiotics are frequently used to treat bacterial, gonococcal, and chlamydial conjunctivitis.
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How Long Does Pink Eye Last How Long Is It Contagious
Each type of pink eye can last for different time frames.
- Viral conjunctivitis can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to resolve.
- Bacterial pink eye can take a few days to a week to heal the use of antibiotic drops shortens that time.
- Allergic pink eye usually clears up as other allergy symptoms lessen or after the allergen or irritant is removed.
- Conjunctivitis caused by a virus or bacteria is highly contagious. It remains so until the symptoms have disappeared or, in the case of bacterial pink eye, for 24-48 hours after antibiotic treatment.
What Are The Best Home Remedies For Pink Eye
Most cases of pink eye will resolve on their own within one to two weeks. Bacterial conjunctivitis might start to improve within two to five days, but antibiotic drops can speed up the healing. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain, you should consult with your doctor. However, there are some home remedies you can use to relieve some of the discomforts of pink eye.
- Cold compress: Soak a washcloth in cool or warm water. After wringing out excess water, place the compress over your eyes for several minutes. When removing the washcloth, place directly in the washing machine. Never use the same washcloth as you can reinfect your eyes or spread the infection from one eye to the other.
- Warm cloth to clean around the eye: Pink eye can cause a discharge or pus coming from the eye. Use a warm cloth to clean the pus from around the eye and eyelashes. You might notice that the discharge forms a crust, especially when first waking. Use the warm cloth to remove the crust. As with compresses, never use the same cloth twice.
- Lubricating eye drops: Eye drops can help flush out allergens or irritants that cause pink eye. They may also relieve symptoms of itchiness.
- Pain relievers: If the pink eye causes pain, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Take the medication as directed.
- Antihistamines: Over-the-counter antihistamines can relieve symptoms of pink eye that are caused by allergens.
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Treating Viral And Bacterial Conjunctivitis In Cats
The most common cause of conjunctivitis in cats is feline herpes virus . Most cats are exposed to the feline herpes virus within the first few weeks of life. At the time of exposure, kittens may develop conjunctivitis .
Figure 1. Cat with conjunctivitis: blepharoedema, chemosis, hyperemia and tearing
Viral conjunctivitis is usually self-limiting and often does not require treatment. If the symptoms do not resolve, treatment with a topical and/or oral antiviral is indicated. Idoxuridine 0.1% and Cidofovir 0.2% are the two most common topical antiviral medications used in cats. Both are compounded and generally used twice daily. Additionally, Famciclovir is an oral antiviral medication that is safe to use in cats. The recommended dose is 125mg to 250mg PO BID, however dosing up to 90mg/kg PO TID is safe in cats. Topical and oral antiviral medications can be used together. Because antiviral medications do not kill the virus, it can take several days and up to 1 to 2 weeks to note significant improvement of clinical signs.
Antiviral medications slow viral replication allowing the immune system to control virus shedding. Slowly tapering viral medication is recommended to limit recrudescence. Flare-ups occur because the feline herpes virus remains latent in the cornea and the trigeminal ganglia.
Figure 2. Fibrinous uveitis in a cat infected with Bartonella henselae