In most cases, your doctor can diagnose pink eye by asking questions about your symptoms and recent health history. An office visit is usually not needed.
Rarely, your doctor may take a sample of the liquid that drains from your eye for laboratory analysis (culture). A culture may be needed if your symptoms are severe or if your doctor suspects a high-risk cause, such as a foreign body in your eye, a serious bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection.
Pink eye treatment is usually focused on symptom relief. Your doctor may recommend using artificial tears, cleaning your eyelids with a wet cloth, and applying cold or warm compresses several times daily.
If you wear contact lenses, you’ll be advised to stop wearing them until treatment is complete. Your doctor will likely recommend that you throw out contacts you’ve worn if your lenses are disposable.
Disinfect hard lenses overnight before you reuse them. Ask your doctor if you should discard and replace your contact lens accessories, such as the lens case used before or during the illness. Also replace any eye makeup used before your illness.
In most cases, you won’t need antibiotic eyedrops. Since conjunctivitis is usually viral, antibiotics won’t help, and may even cause harm by reducing their effectiveness in the future or causing a medication reaction. Instead, the virus needs time to run its course — up to two or three weeks.
Viral conjunctivitis often begins in one eye and then infects the other eye within a few days. Your signs and symptoms should gradually clear on their own.
Antiviral medications may be an option if your doctor determines that your viral conjunctivitis is caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Treatment for allergic conjunctivitis
If the irritation is allergic conjunctivitis, your doctor may prescribe one of many different types of eyedrops for people with allergies. These may include medications that help control allergic reactions, such as antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers, or drugs that help control inflammation, such as decongestants, steroids and anti-inflammatory drops.
Over-the-counter eyedrops that contain antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medications also may be effective. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure which product to use.
You may also reduce the severity of your allergic conjunctivitis symptoms by avoiding whatever causes your allergies when possible.
Lifestyle and home remedies
To help you cope with the signs and symptoms of pink eye until it goes away, try to:
- Apply a compress to your eyes. To make a compress, soak a clean, lint-free cloth in water and wring it out before applying it gently to your closed eyelids. Generally, a cool water compress will feel the most soothing, but you can also use a warm compress if that feels better to you. If pink eye affects only one eye, don’t touch both eyes with the same cloth. This reduces the risk of spreading pink eye from one eye to the other.
- Try eyedrops. Over-the-counter eyedrops called artificial tears may relieve symptoms. Some eyedrops contain antihistamines or other medications that can be helpful for people with allergic conjunctivitis.
- Stop wearing contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses, you may need to stop wearing them until your eyes feel better. How long you’ll need to go without contact lenses depends on what’s causing your conjunctivitis. Ask your doctor whether you should throw away your disposable contacts, as well as your cleaning solution and lens case. If your lenses aren’t disposable, clean them thoroughly before reusing them.
- Source. :MAYO Clinic