Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment for bacterial conjunctivitis

More than half of bacterial conjunctivitis cases will clear up in one to two weeks without treatment. Taking an antibiotic may speed up the healing process. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eyedrops or ointment. Ointment may blur vision for up to 20 minutes after application.

With either form of medication, expect signs and symptoms to start getting better in a few days. Follow your doctor's instructions and use the antibiotics for the complete period prescribed. This helps prevent the infection from recurring.

Treatment for viral conjunctivitis

In most cases, no treatment is available for viral conjunctivitis. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication if your condition is caused by the herpes simplex virus.

Viral conjunctivitis often begins in one eye and then infects the other eye within a few days. Your signs and symptoms will likely clear up as the virus runs its course over one to two weeks.

Treatment for allergic conjunctivitis

If you have allergic conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe from among many different types of eyedrops for people with allergies. These may include:

  • Drugs that help control allergic reactions, such as a combination of antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers
  • Drugs that help control inflammation, such as decongestants, steroids and anti-inflammatory eyedrops
July 16, 2015