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Pink eye (conjunctivitis) treatment online

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is a common and highly contagious eye condition characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane covering the white part of the eye and the inner eyelid.

It can affect individuals of all ages and tends to spread quickly in environments like schools and workplaces.

The condition can manifest in three main forms:

  • Viral conjunctivitis: Often associated with colds and upper respiratory infections, this type is caused by a virus and is highly contagious. It usually clears up on its own within a week or two without the need for medical treatment.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis: This type is caused by bacteria and can cause serious damage if not treated promptly with antibiotics. It is also contagious and is characterized by a significant amount of sticky discharge from the eye.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis: Triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust, and pet dander, this form of pink eye causes itching, redness, and excessive tearing, but it is not contagious.

Symptoms of pink eye

Pink eye, medically known as conjunctivitis, presents with several distinctive symptoms that vary slightly depending on the underlying cause—viral, bacterial, or allergic.

Recognizing these symptoms early can help in managing the condition effectively and preventing its spread.

Common symptoms include:

  • Redness: The white of the eye may appear pink or red, a hallmark sign of conjunctivitis, resulting from the inflammation and dilation of tiny blood vessels within the conjunctiva.
  • Itchiness: Particularly common in allergic conjunctivitis, itching can be intense and often accompanies a sensation of burning or irritation.
  • Discharge: Bacterial conjunctivitis typically involves a thick, sticky discharge that can be yellow or greenish. This discharge may be heavy enough to cause the eyelids to stick together upon waking. Viral conjunctivitis also causes a watery discharge, though it is usually clearer and less copious.
  • Tearing: An increase in tears is the body’s response to irritation and inflammation, commonly observed in all types of conjunctivitis.
  • Sensitivity to Light: Many individuals with pink eye experience increased sensitivity to light, which can be uncomfortable or painful.

Additional considerations:

  • Vision changes: While not as common, some people may experience a slight blurring of vision due to the discharge or the swelling of the conjunctiva.
  • Swelling: The eyelids may become swollen and tender to the touch, especially in severe cases of allergic or bacterial conjunctivitis.
  • Gritty Feeling: There might be a sensation as if something is in the eye, described often as a gritty or scratchy feeling.

Each type of conjunctivitis might share several symptoms but also has unique features that can help in identifying the cause. For instance, itching is more pronounced in allergic conjunctivitis, whereas the thick, sticky discharge is more specific to bacterial infections.

Pink eye treatment

Effective treatment of pink eye, or conjunctivitis, depends significantly on identifying the type of conjunctivitis involved—viral, bacterial, or allergic—as each type has specific treatment protocols.

Viral conjunctivitis treatment: Viral conjunctivitis typically resolves on its own within one to two weeks. Treatment is mainly supportive, focusing on alleviating symptoms:

  • Cold compresses can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Artificial tears can soothe irritation and provide relief.
  • Antihistamine or anti-inflammatory eye drops may be recommended by a healthcare provider to help manage specific symptoms such as severe itching or inflammation.

Patients are advised to maintain good hygiene, avoid touching their eyes, and change towels and bed linens frequently to prevent spreading the virus.

Bacterial conjunctivitis treatment: Bacterial infections require antibiotic treatment to clear the infection. Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotic eye drops or ointments, are applied directly to the inside of the eyelid. These are typically used for several days until the infection improves and symptoms resolve.
  • Oral antibiotics may be prescribed in more severe cases or if the infection is not responding to topical treatments.

Allergic conjunctivitis treatment: Allergic conjunctivitis is treated by addressing the allergies causing the reaction:

  • Antihistamine eye drops can help control allergic reactions and provide relief from itching and redness.
  • Oral antihistamines may be recommended for more widespread allergic symptoms.
  • Avoiding allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander, is crucial for long-term management and prevention.

Additional tips for managing conjunctivitis:

  • Maintain cleanliness: Regularly wash hands, avoid sharing personal items like towels and face cloths, and clean surfaces such as countertops and doorknobs.
  • Avoid eye makeup and contact lenses: While experiencing symptoms, avoid using makeup and contact lenses to prevent further irritation or spread of the infection.

In cases where symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to consult a healthcare provider to reassess the condition and adjust treatment accordingly.

Medication for pink eye

Medications for pink eye (conjunctivitis) are primarily aimed at alleviating symptoms and addressing the underlying cause of the inflammation. The choice of medication depends significantly on whether the conjunctivitis is viral, bacterial, or allergic.

Viral conjunctivitis: There are no specific antiviral medications for most causes of viral conjunctivitis. Instead, treatment focuses on symptom relief:

  • Lubricating eye drops (artificial tears) can help alleviate dryness and irritation.
  • Steroid eye drops might be prescribed in severe cases to reduce inflammation, under close medical supervision.

Bacterial conjunctivitis: Antibiotics are required to treat this infection.

  • Antibiotic eye drops or ointments, such as Polymyxin B-Trimethoprim (Polytrim), are commonly prescribed to eliminate the bacterial infection.
  • Oral antibiotics might be considered for more extensive infections or for cases not responding to topical treatment.

Allergic conjunctivitis: Treatment is directed at controlling allergies and inflammation.

  • Antihistamine eye drops such as Ketotifen can quickly relieve itching and redness.
  • Mast cell stabilizers like Cromolyn can be used for long-term prevention.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) eye drops may also be used to decrease swelling and pain.

When to see a doctor?

It’s important to consult a doctor for pink eye in certain situations to ensure appropriate treatment and prevent complications. You should see a doctor if:

  • Symptoms persist or worsen despite treatment.
  • There is moderate to severe pain in the eye.
  • Vision becomes blurry or you experience sensitivity to light.
  • Symptoms are accompanied by intense redness in the eyes.
  • There is a significant amount of pus or discharge, suggesting a bacterial infection.

Additionally, if you have pre-existing eye conditions or a weakened immune system, seeking medical advice early can help manage the condition more effectively.

How can DrHouse help you?

DrHouse can assist with a pink eye by providing quick and convenient telehealth services. Through our online platform, you can consult with healthcare professionals who can diagnose your symptoms, prescribe necessary medications, and offer advice on managing and preventing pink eye. This is especially beneficial for individuals seeking immediate care without the need to visit a physical clinic, ensuring you receive timely treatment while minimizing the risk of spreading the infection.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Can pink eye be treated with telehealth?

Yes, pink eye can be treated through telehealth. Our platform allows you to consult with a healthcare professional who can diagnose and prescribe necessary medications for treatment.

Is it safe to get pink eye treatment online?

Yes, DrHouse provides secure and confidential telehealth services. Our healthcare professionals are licensed and experienced in treating a variety of conditions, including pink eye.


Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.

If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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Frequently asked questions

  • DrHouse offers a wide array of telehealth services tailored to meet diverse patient needs.

    Our primary services include urgent care and primary care consultations, which cover immediate medical assistance for non-life-threatening conditions as well as comprehensive healthcare for chronic and ongoing medical concerns.

    We also provide specialized condition-based services, including dermatology appointments, men’s health, and women’s health visits.

    Our team of licensed physicians has expertise in various medical fields to ensure that we can address a wide range of patient needs effectively and efficiently.

  • DrHouse operates on the principles of convenience, accessibility, and quality healthcare. Our telehealth platform is designed to provide on-demand doctors’ visits for urgent care needs, sparing you the hassle of prolonged waiting periods and ensuring timely medical assistance.

    Using DrHouse is a straightforward process. All you need to do is follow a few easy steps:

    • Download the DrHouse telehealth app on your mobile device.
    • Create an account by providing basic information and medical history.
    • Start an on-demand virtual video consultation with one of our licensed physicians.
    • Discuss your medical needs and concerns with one of our physicians.
    • A doctor will review your medical history, symptoms, and current medications (if any) to create a personalized treatment plan.
    • If necessary, a doctor will electronically send a prescription to your chosen pharmacy.

    For more information visit our “How DrHouse Works” page.

  • During your virtual consultation with a DrHouse physician, you will have the opportunity to discuss your medical needs and concerns.

    The consultation will consist of a video call where the physician will assess your medical history and ask you questions about your symptoms and any other relevant information. This is to ensure that the physician has all the necessary information to make an informed decision about your treatment plan.

    The physician may also request additional information or diagnostic tests, such as blood work or imaging if needed.

    You can also ask any questions or clarify any doubts you may have about your condition or medication. Our physicians are happy to address any concerns you may have.

    Once the physician has assessed your needs, they will create a personalized treatment plan, which may include prescribing medication or recommending further medical care.

  • At DrHouse, we understand the value of your time and health, which is why our on-demand urgent care service is designed to work quickly and efficiently. From the moment you request a consultation, it takes only up to 15 minutes to see a doctor.

  • Yes, physicians at DrHouse can prescribe almost any medication, including refills, that is not classified as a controlled substance. DrHouse physicians also will not prescribe Gabapentin, medical marijuana, muscle relaxants, or HRT medications. It’s crucial to note that the prescription of any medication is purely at the discretion of our healthcare professionals.

    They will assess your medical history, symptoms, and current medications to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you. If your physician believes that a certain medication is necessary for your well-being, it will be prescribed.

  • Absolutely, it is safe to use DrHouse. We are committed to ensuring the highest standards of patient safety and privacy.

    All our providers are highly qualified US-based physicians and often affiliated with major hospitals. They are board-certified and from the top U.S. medical schools with an average of 20 years of experience.

    We strictly adhere to HIPAA regulations, ensuring your personal and medical information is kept secure and confidential. Also, we comply with all applicable state and federal laws related to telehealth and the prescribing and refilling of medications.

    Therefore, you can rest assured knowing that your safety and privacy are our top priorities when you use DrHouse’s services.

  • DrHouse strives to provide accessible and affordable telehealth services. DrHouse urgent care, primary care, and specialist visits are $129 or your copay. This includes everything from your initial consultation through to the prescription of your medication.

    The cost of a doctor’s visit may be covered fully by your insurance. A typical copay is around $25. We recommend checking with your insurance provider to understand the extent of your coverage for telehealth services.

    To learn more about how much DrHouse costs, visit our pricing page.

  • Yes, DrHouse accepts most major insurances, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and Medicare. The extent of coverage may vary depending on your individual plan.