What are the Different Types of Bacterial Conjunctivitis Treatment?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Bacterial conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pinkeye, is a type of contagious eye infection. Common symptoms include red, itchy, watery eyes. The patient may also experience pain and a crusting over around the eyelashes, making the eye difficult to open. Bacterial conjunctivitis treatment options include the use of oral medications, topical ointments, or eye drops. Natural bacterial conjunctivitis treatment options include the use of tea bags, honey, or warm milk.

Antibiotic eye drops are the primary type of bacterial conjunctivitis treatment. These medicated eye drops are typically placed into the affected eye every four hours. As the eye drops contain an antibiotic, it is important to use the medication exactly as prescribed, even if symptoms begin to improve. Antibiotic eye drops are generally used for about a week.

An antibiotic ointment is another type of bacterial conjunctivitis treatment. This medication may be prescribed alone or in combination with antibiotic eye drops. As is the case with other types of antibiotic treatments, this medication should be used exactly as prescribed by a doctor. Oral antibiotics are occasionally prescribed for this condition, especially if there is an infection elsewhere in the body as well.


While it is important to see a doctor if pinkeye is suspected, there are some bacterial conjunctivitis treatment options that can be used at home to help make the patient more comfortable. For instance, a warm compress used several times per day can help to soften the crusty material caused by excess eye drainage, making it easier to keep the eye clean. Saline eye drops can be used several times per day to help soothe the eye, especially if some of the crusty material has invaded the eye.

An important part of bacterial conjunctivitis treatment includes taking proper hygiene precautions so that the infection does not spread to others. It is extremely important to wash the hands frequently, especially after touching the face. It is also important that the patient does not share wash cloths or towels with anyone else. Disposable tissues should be used whenever possible, and used tissues should not be touched by anyone other than the infected person. If any of the antibacterial eye drops are left after treatment has ended, they should be discarded.

Some patients prefer natural bacterial conjunctivitis treatment options. A homemade eyewash may contain water mixed with a few drops of honey, as honey is known to have antibacterial qualities. Warm milk may be substituted for the water for an added soothing quality. Placing cooled tea bags over the affected eye may provide a soothing sensation and help to reduce inflammation and itching.


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