Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis) - Topic Overview
How is pinkeye diagnosed?
can usually diagnose pinkeye with an eye exam and by asking questions about
your symptoms. Sometimes the doctor will use a cotton swab to take some fluid
from around your eye so it can be tested for bacteria or other
How is it treated?
If your doctor thinks the pinkeye is caused by bacteria, he or she may
prescribe antibiotic eyedrops or eye ointment to kill the bacteria. See a
how to apply eye drops or
eye ointment . With antibiotic treatment, symptoms usually go away in 2 to 3
days. But antibiotics only work for bacterial pinkeye, not for the more common
viral pinkeye. Viral pinkeye often clears on its own
in 7 to 10 days. If your
symptoms last longer, call your doctor.
- Eye Problems: Using Eyedrops and Eye Ointments.
If the pinkeye is caused by an allergy or chemical, it will
not go away until you avoid whatever is causing it.
of pinkeye symptoms can help you feel more comfortable while the infection goes
- Wash your hands often. Always wash them before and after you treat pinkeye or
touch your eyes or face.
- Use moist cotton or a clean, wet cloth to
Wipe from the inside corner of the eye to the outside. Use a clean part of the
cloth for each wipe. If the infection is in only one eye, be careful not to
spread it to the other eye.
warm wet cloths (whichever feels better) on your eye a
few times a day if the eye hurts.
- Do not wear
contact lenses until the pinkeye is gone. Sterilize
your contacts, and clean your storage case. If you wear disposable contacts,
use a new pair when your eye has cleared and it is safe to wear contacts again.
Wait at least 2 days after the symptoms are gone before you wear contacts
- If the doctor gave you antibiotic eyedrops or ointment, use
them as directed. Use the medicine for as long as instructed, even if your eye
starts to look better sooner. Keep the bottle tip clean, and do not let it
touch the eye area.
- Do not wear eye makeup until the pinkeye is
gone. Throw away any eye makeup you were using when you got pinkeye.
- Do not share towels, pillows, or washcloths while you have
- Use allergy eyedrops and medicines to reduce symptoms of
pinkeye caused by allergies.