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What are the Different Cures for Pink Eye?

Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Updated May 17, 2024
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Cures for pink eye depend on the type of pink eye contracted, but many methods are similar. Officially known as conjunctivitis, pink eye can be caused by a virus, by bacteria, or by an allergic reaction. Most cures for pink eye simply involve waiting it out, as most cases clear up on their own within a few days. More persistent cases may need extra attention and even medication, though the pink eye sufferer should wait a few days to see if the pink eye clears up on its own before seeking a doctor's advice for other cures for pink eye.

To relieve the itching and burning sensation that often accompanies conjunctivitis, one can pour cool water over the eyes or place a cold compress on the eyes. While not one of the cures for pink eye, this usually helps alleviate itching and burning, and it can provide temporary relief. Eyedrops — sometimes called liquid tears — can help relieve some of the discomfort as well and even help promote healing of the infection. One should make sure any towels used as a cold compress are not used by other people, as pink eye can be contagious. The towels should be washed thoroughly before being used again.

Medications can be used as cures for pink eye in more severe instances of the condition. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, but doctors generally recommend the sufferer wait several days before seeking antibiotics. If the condition does not heal on its own or if it worsens, a doctor will often prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the pink eye. Rinsing the eye regularly can help wash away pus that commonly builds up during a bacterial infection. This pus can be uncomfortable and unsightly, and it can even make eyelids stick together while sleeping. Cleaning the eye thoroughly can help prevent the spread of conjunctivitis, and a sufferer should be sure to wash his or her hands thoroughly and often.

Viral infections often do not have any other solution than waiting for the condition to pass. Containing the spread of the virus is important, and sufferers of conjunctivitis should pay careful attention to washing hands and avoiding touching the face. Allergic reactions are sometimes treated with antihistamines or anti-inflammatory medications, but again, such medications are usually only considered after the pink eye has not abated after several days or after the condition worsens.

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