After determining the cause of your pink eye infection, your health care provider can prescribe a treatment for that particular type of infection.
Allergic eye infection may respond best to antihistamines, decongestants, mast cell stabilizers, steroids and anti-inflammatory drops, or it may disappear on its own when the allergen that caused it is removed.
Antibiotic medication, usually eye drops, is used to treat a bacterial pink eye infection. Antibiotic eye ointment, in place of eye drops, is sometimes prescribed for treating bacterial pink eye infection in children. You should notice a marked improvement in symptoms within one to two days. Be sure to use the medication for the entire time your doctor prescribes it, to prevent recurrence of the infection.
Viral pink eye infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. Like a common cold, you can use an over-the-counter remedy to relieve some symptoms, but the virus just has to run its course. You may notice a worsening of symptoms in the first three to five days. After that, your symptoms should gradually clear on their own. It may take up to two to three weeks from the time you were infected for the virus to go away.
Self-care eye infection remedies include:
For viral or bacterial eye infections, you can soothe discomfort by applying warm compresses to your affected eye or eyes. To make a compress, soak a clean, lint-free cloth in warm water and wring it out before applying it gently to your closed eyelids.
For allergic conjunctivitis, use cool compresses to soothe your eyes. Avoid rubbing your eyes so that you don't release more histamines. You might also try specially formulated over-the-counter eyedrops such as Naphcon-A or Opcon-A, which contain an antihistamine and an agent that constricts blood vessels.