When Should I Use Antibiotics for Pink Eyes?

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is an eye condition where there is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The thin clear tissue which lies over the sclera and lines the inside of the eyelid is called the conjunctiva. Antibiotic eye drops or ointment are prescribed by doctors for pink eyes. Some people assume that antibiotics work but they do more harm than good to your eye.

In June, a new study was published that suggested that people with pink eyes are getting the wrong treatment. Antibiotics are not common to treat this common eye infection called pink eye. There are 60 percent of patients being prescribed antibiotic eye drops. The infection can worsen with the antibiotic-steroid eye drop as proven by 20 percent of patients who received them.

Pink eyes that are caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Most cases of bacterial conjunctivitis are mild and resolve on their own even without treatment within 7 to 14 days. If your pink eye is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not effective because they do not kill viruses. You can use antibiotics for bacterial pink eyes if the symptoms appear to be severe if your immune system is weak. This is possible if you have an illness such as HIV/AIDS or if your condition does not get better after a week without treatment.

Can Antibiotics Cause Allergic Reactions to the Eye?

woman with a red eye

Problems can occur in taking antibiotics. There are people who have allergic reactions. Certain antibiotics can cause more discharge. It can also cause itching, stinging, burning, swelling, and redness to occur. It is important to know if you have allergic reactions to antibiotics to avoid worsening the situation.

Long term use of antibiotics may also cause bacteria or other microbes to adapt such that they are no longer susceptible to antibiotics. This is referred to as bacterial or antibiotic resistance. Therefore, if an antibiotic is not needed to treat your condition, it can potentially harm you.

What Are the Three Types of Pink Eye?

set of eyes with varying degrees of redness

To determine what type of pink eye you have, here are the symptoms to watch out for:

● If you have a viral pink eye, you will experience symptoms that include watery eyes along with cold, flu, or sore throat.
● If you have an allergic pink eye, you will experience symptoms such as itchy eyes, swollen eyelids, and a runny or itchy nose. This type of pink eye is common in people who have allergies, hay fever, or asthma.
● If you have a bacterial pink eye, you will see a thick or yellow-green discharge that lasts all day. This symptom is not associated with a cold or flu.

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