In most instances, your doctor can diagnose pink eye by discussing your recent medical history, symptoms, and conducting an eye examination. Rarely, your healthcare professional might collect a sample of the fluid that drains from your eye for a culture—a laboratory test. A culture may be done if your symptoms are severe or your doctor thinks you have a high-risk condition, like having a severe bacterial infection, something stuck in your eye, or a sexually transmitted disease.


Symptom alleviation is typically the main goal of pink eye treatment. Your provider might advise:

  • Using compresses several times a day, either cold or warm.
  • Utilizing a damp cloth to clean your eyelids.
  • Applying artificial tears.

If you are a contact lens wearer, you will receive instructions to discontinue their use until your treatment is completed. It is advisable to follow your provider’s guidance and dispose of any previously worn soft contact lenses as recommended.

Before using hard lenses again, disinfect them overnight. Ask your doctor if you need to replace any contact lens cases or other accessories that you used before to or during the sickness. Replace whatever eye makeup you had on prior to being ill.

You won’t typically require antibiotic eye drops. Antibiotics won’t help because conjunctivitis is typically a viral condition. By decreasing their future effectiveness or triggering a negative drug reaction, they might potentially be harmful. Instead, the virus requires time to follow its natural progression. Normally, this takes two to three weeks.

Within a few days, viral conjunctivitis frequently spreads from one eye to the other after starting in the first. Your symptoms ought to eventually go away by themselves.

If the herpes simplex virus is to blame for your viral conjunctivitis, antiviral medications can be a possibility.

Treatment for allergic conjunctivitis

When allergic conjunctivitis is the source of irritation, your doctor might suggest various allergy-specific eye drops. Examples include antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers, which can aid in managing allergic reactions. Alternatively, your doctor could propose anti-inflammatory drops, steroids, decongestants, or other medications to regulate inflammation.

Over-the-counter equivalents of these medications might also be effective. It’s advisable to consult your provider to determine the most suitable option for you.

Taking measures to avoid allergens that trigger your allergies could potentially help reduce the severity of your allergic conjunctivitis symptoms.