Conjunctivitis, better known as pink eye, is an infection that causes one’s eyes to be itchy, weepy and red. If one has pink eye, the eyes will often be matted shut when one wakes up in the morning. The membranes that cover the surface of the eyes are inflamed because of the infection or irritant. There are times when it is important to seek medical care for conjunctivitis (pink eye), as the treatment sometimes depends on the cause. However, this is not always necessary. To help relieve some of the inflammation and dryness caused by conjunctivitis, one can use cold compresses and artificial tears, which one can purchase over the counter without a prescription. One should also stop wearing contact lenses until the eye doctor affirms wearing them again.

When to seek medical care

One should see a healthcare provider if one has conjunctivitis along with any of the following:

  • pain in the eye(s)
  • sensitivity to light or blurred vision that does not improve when discharge is wiped from the eye(s)
  • intense redness in the eye(s) s
  • symptoms that get worse or don’t improve, including pink eye thought to be caused by bacteria which does not improve after 24 hours of antibiotic use
  • a weakened immune system, for example from HIV infection, cancer treatment, or other medical conditions or treatments
  • newborns with symptoms of conjunctivitis should see a doctor right away

Viral Conjunctivitis

Pink eye dropsThis is the most common type of conjunctivitis and is highly contagious. Symptoms associated with this type generally include a clear or white watery discharge. The eyelids may be swollen and one may be light-sensitive. Frequently, one will have other symptoms that mimic a cold such as congestion, itchy eyes and a runny nose. This type of pink eye can last for as long as two weeks but usually the symptoms are only really bad for a few days. Viral conjunctivitis doesn’t require an antibiotic but one should see the doctor because it’s possible that one has an infected cornea or some other injury that will need treated immediately. Most cases of viral conjunctivitis are mild. The infection will usually clear up in 7 to 14 days without treatment and without any longterm consequences. But in some cases, viral conjunctivitis can take 2 to 3 weeks or more to clear up. A doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to treat more serious forms of conjunctivitis for which there is a specific treatment, such as those caused by herpes simplex virus or varicella-zoster virus. Antibiotics will not improve viral conjunctivitis; these drugs are not effective against viruses.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Antibiotics, usually given topically as eye drops or ointment, can help shorten the length of bacterial conjunctivitis, reduce complications, and reduce the spread of infection to others. If the doctor prescribes antibiotic eye drops or ointment, the infection should clear within several days. However, mild bacterial conjunctivitis may get better without antibiotic treatment and without any complications. It often improves in 2 to 5 days without treatment but can last up to 2 or 3 weeks. The use of antibiotics is associated with increased antibiotic resistance and increased costs, and should be a shared decision between the doctor and the patient.

Bacterial Pink Eye

With bacterial conjunctivitis, one’s eyes will be red and will itch or maybe even hurt. They may also swell and will have a yellow or green discharge. One may wake up with eyes matted shut. This kind is extremely contagious as well and one has to see a doctor because one will need eye drops to cure it. The doctor may also give one oral antibiotics if one has other symptoms such as a cough, runny nose or congestion because these are most likely being caused by the same bacteria. Although natural remedies for pink eye have not been extensively studied, research has shown that Eyebright and chamomile can be very effective home remedies:

  • Make a cup of Chamomile tea, remove the tea bag and let it cool. Then place the cool, moist chamomile tea bag on each eye for about 10-15 minutes, repeating every couple of hours. Make sure chamomile is the only ingredient of the tea bag.
  • One can also use Eyebright. Infuse a teaspoon of the herb in a cup of hot water. Allow to cool, strain. Put the tea in an eye cup (available at pharmacies) and use it in the recommended way.
  • Steep 1 teaspoon dried Eyebright in 1 cup boiling hot water for 10 minutes and strain well. Soak a washcloth in the solution (as warm as one can stand it), gently wring it, and apply it to the stye for 15 minutes two or three times a day.
  • Because conjunctivitis can be a bacterial infection, I add one teaspoon of dried or powdered Goldenseal and 1 teaspoon of dried Calendula flowers. This blend is also very effective for sties.
  • Steep 2 tablespoons of dried calendula (also called pot marigold) in 1 cup of hot water (covered) for about an hour. Allow to cool. Take a square of cotton, dip in the tea, place some drops in eye and put cotton over eye for about 10 minutes. Use as needed. Refrigerate the remainder and use next day same way. No stinging, no burning, very soothing.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis caused by an allergen (such as pollen or animal dander) usually improves when the allergen is removed from the person’s environment. Allergy medications and certain eye drops (topical antihistamine vasoconstrictors), including some prescription eye drops, can also provide relief from allergic conjunctivitis. In some cases, a combination of drugs may be needed to improve symptoms. The doctor can help if one has conjunctivitis caused by an allergy.


  • Eye dropsIt is effective and fast acting for soothing itch and burn
  • Relieves redness
  • Hydrates dry eyes
  • Refreshes & soothes up to 8 hours.

Active ingredients are hypromellose 0.2% (lubricant), tetrahydrozoline HCI 0.05% (Redness reliever), Zinc sulfate 0.25o/o (Astringent). Inactive ingredients are boric acid, edetate disodium, menthol, polysorbate 80, purified water, sodium borate.

It is used for the following:

  • temporarily relieves redness of the eye and discomfort due to minor eye irritations.
  • exposure to wind or sun temporarily relieves burning and irritation due to dryness of the eye.

Precautions are:

  • For external use only
  • Ask a doctor before use if you have narrow angle glaucoma

When using this product,

  • do not touch tip of container to any surface to avoid contamination replace cap after each use
  • do not use if solution changes color or becomes cloudy
  • overuse may cause more eye redness
  • pupils may become enlarged temporarily
  • remove contact lenses before using

Stop use and ask a doctor if:

  • one feel eye pain
  • changes in vision occur
  • redness or irritation of the eyes lasts
  • condition worsens or lasts more than 72 hours

Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.

How to Use

  • Put 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye(s) up to 4 times daily
  • Tightly snap on cap to seal


This medication is used to relieve dry, irritated eyes. Common causes for dry eyes include wind, sun, heating/air conditioning, computer use/reading, and certain medications. This product may contain 1 or more of the following ingredients: carboxymethylcellulose, dextran, glycerin, hypromellose, polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400), polysorbate, polyvinyl alcohol, or propylene glycol, among others. Eye lubricants keep the eye moist, help to protect the eye from injury and infection, and decrease symptoms of dry eyes such as burning, itching, and feeling as if something is in the eye.

Procedures to Use Refresh Eye Drops

Follow all directions on the product package. If one is uncertain about any of the information, consult the doctor or pharmacist. Do not use a solution that has changed color or is cloudy. Certain brands (containing glycerin with polysorbates, among other ingredients) may have a milky appearance. This is alright as long as the solution does not change color. Some eye drops need to be shaken before use. Check the label to see if one should shake the product before using. Usually, drops may be used as often as needed. Ointments are usually used 1to 2 times daily as needed. If using an ointment once a day, it may be best to use it at bedtime.

eye dropsTo apply eye ointment/drops/gels: Wash hands first. To avoid contamination, be careful not to touch the dropper or top of the ointment tube or let it touch the eye. Always replace the cap tightly after each use. Tilt head back, look up, and pull down the lower eyelid to make a pouch. For drops/gels, place the dropper directly over the eye and squeeze out 1 or 2 drops as needed. Look down and gently close eye for 1 or 2 minutes. Place one finger at the corner of the eye near the nose and apply gentle pressure. This will prevent the medication from draining away from the eye. For an ointment, hold the tube directly over the eye and gently squeeze a small strip (one-fourth of an inch or roughly 6 millimeters) of ointment into the pouch. Release the eyelid, close the eye, and slowly roll your eye in all directions to spread the medication. Blot away any extra ointment from around the eye with a clean tissue.

If one is also using another kind of eye medication (e.g., drops or ointments), wait at least 5 minutes before applying other medications. Use eye drops before eye ointments to allow the eye drops to enter the eye.


This medication is used to treat bacterial infections (such as blepharitis, conjunctivitis of the eye. It contains 2 antibiotics. Polymyxin B works by killing the bacteria. Trimethoprim works by stopping the growth of the bacteria. This medication treats only bacterial eye infections. It will not work for other types of eye infections. Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.

How to use polymyxin B sulfate-trimethoprim ophthalmic

  • To apply eye drops, wash hands first. To avoid contamination, do not touch the dropper tip or let it touch your eye or any other surface. Use in the eyes only. Do not swallow or inject.
  • Do not wear contact lenses while one is using lenses according to the manufacturer’s directions, beginning to use them again.
  • Tilt head back, look upward, and pull down the lower eyelid to make a pouch. Hold the dropper directly over the eye and place one drop into the pouch as directed by one’s doctor. Look downward, gently close your eyes, and place one finger at the corner of the eye (near the nose). Apply gentle pressure for 1 to 2 minutes before opening eyes. This will prevent the medication from draining out. Try not to blink or rub eye. Repeat these steps if dose is for more than one drop. If directed to use this medication in both eyes, repeat these steps for the other eye. Wait several minutes for the vision to clear before driving or operating machinery. Do not rinse the dropper. Replace the dropper cap after each use.

Side Effects

Temporary eye stinging/burning/redness/itchiness or temporary blurred vision may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen or if increased pain/swelling occurs, stop using this medication and tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that the doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to one is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.