What are the Different Types of Conjunctivitis Medicine?

Autumn Rivers

While most forms of conjunctivitis look the same, there are different treatments available depending on the cause of the condition. The best conjunctivitis medicine for the bacterial form of this issue is an antibiotic drop, which is usually prescribed by a doctor once the patient is diagnosed. Unfortunately, there is typically no way to cure viral conjunctivitis with medicine, but there are medications available to alleviate the symptoms of this type of pink eye. Antihistamines can be used to get rid of the itchiness and irritation, while drops or gel can be used to soothe the eye in general. In some cases, steroid drops can help heal any inflammation in the eye, as well.

A tube of ointment for treating conjunctivitis.
A tube of ointment for treating conjunctivitis.

The most commonly offered type of conjunctivitis medicine is antibiotic drops, though these are only typically prescribed for those with bacterial conjunctivitis. This is because nearly every case of bacterial conjunctivitis in adults is caused by either staphylococcus or streptococcus, which allows doctors to treat it with confidence using antibiotics. Fortunately, most patients begin healing from this form of pink eye within about one day of taking antibiotics, allowing them to return to work or school quickly since they are no longer contagious while being treated.

Antibiotic drops are usually prescribed by a doctor after the patient has been diagnosed with conjunctivitis.
Antibiotic drops are usually prescribed by a doctor after the patient has been diagnosed with conjunctivitis.

It is more difficult to treat viral conjunctivitis with medication, as time is usually the best treatment. In the meantime, though, patients can buy antihistamines to get rid of the redness, itchiness, and general discomfort brought on by pink eye. These are typically used by people suffering from allergies, which often result in the same symptoms in the eye as viral conjunctivitis. These can be prescribed or purchased over the counter.

Eye gel can be purchased over the counter to treat conjunctivitis.
Eye gel can be purchased over the counter to treat conjunctivitis.

Another type of conjunctivitis medicine that can be bought at most stores is eye gel or drops. The point of these products is to add moisture to the eyes, which can reduce redness and irritation. Thus, they can often help reduce the discomfort felt by those with pink eye. Most people use eye drops since they can be applied all day, while gel is often best when applied at night since they stay in the eye longer, causing some temporary blurriness.

Those with access to an eye doctor may receive steroid drops as treatment for pink eye. This type of conjunctivitis medicine is meant to reduce inflammation, though it is usually only prescribed in particularly severe cases since extended use can lead to glaucoma or cataracts. Steroids may be offered in the form of eye drops, nasal spray, or by mouth, as any form of this conjunctivitis medicine can reduce inflammation and speed up healing in some cases.

Conjunctivitis is an infection or irritation of the conjunctiva, also known as pink eye.
Conjunctivitis is an infection or irritation of the conjunctiva, also known as pink eye.

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