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Pink Eye Treatment

Treating Pink Eye From Allergies

Treatment for pink eye caused by allergies involves some basic eye care, along with medicines to treat bothersome symptoms.
Basic eye care strategies include:
  • Minimize the exposure to pollen during peak allergy periods (see Preventing Allergies for tips on how to do this).
  • Avoid rubbing the eyes. Rubbing your eyes will actually make symptoms worse. Use artificial tears throughout the day to help dilute and remove allergens. If itching or irritation worsens, try more artificial tears, a cool compress, or antihistamine eyedrops.
  • If you wear contacts, stop using them or decrease their use while you have symptoms. Allergens tend to stick to the lenses' surface.
  • When using different types of drops, wait about 10 minutes between the types to decrease the washing out of one drop with another.
Several other different classes of allergy medicines may be recommended to help with symptoms (see Medicine for Pink Eye).

Treatments for Pink Eye Caused By Bacteria

Unlike allergic or viral conjunctivitis, if you are diagnosed with bacterial conjunctivitis, early treatment does appear to speed up healing (although most cases will get better even without treatment). Treatment also helps improve symptoms and decreases the chances of recurrence.
For this type of pink eye, treatment involves antibiotic drops or an antibiotic ointment. Treatment is generally for five to seven days, depending on which antibiotic is prescribed.
If you are prescribed an ointment, apply it inside the lower eyelid. Your vision may stay blurry for up to 20 minutes. For antibiotic drops, pull the lower lid down gently, look up, and place a drop between the lower eyelid and the eyeball. Close the lid for a few seconds.
You should start seeing a decrease in redness, discharge, and irritation after one to two days. If symptoms get worse, make sure to contact your healthcare provider.
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Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) Information

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