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Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is inflammation of your conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a thin tissue that covers the front of your eye and the back of your eyelids. The conjunctiva helps protect your eye and keep it moist.




  • Allergy medicine: This medicine helps decrease itchy, red, swollen eyes caused by allergies. This medicine may be given as a pill, eye drops, or nasal spray.
  • Antibiotics: You may need antibiotics if your conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria. This medicine may be given as a pill, eye drops, or eye ointment.
  • Steroid medicine: This medicine helps decrease inflammation. It may be given as a pill, eye drops, or nasal spray.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for more tests on your eyes. These will help your healthcare provider check for eye damage. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Avoid the spread of conjunctivitis:

  • Wash your hands often: Wash your hands before you touch your eyes. Also wash your hands before you prepare or eat food and after you use the bathroom or change a diaper.
  • Avoid allergens: Try to avoid the things that cause your allergies, such as pets, dust, or grass.
  • Avoid contact: Do not share towels or washcloths. Try to stay away from others as much as possible. Ask when you can return to work or school.
  • Throw away eye makeup: Throw away mascara and other eye makeup.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Apply a cool compress: Wet a washcloth with cold water and place it on your eye. This will help decrease swelling.
  • Use eye drops: Eye drops, or artificial tears, can be bought without a doctor's order. They help keep your eye moist.
  • Do not wear contact lenses: They can irritate your eye. Throw away the pair you are using and ask when you can wear them again. Use a new pair of lenses when your healthcare provider says it is okay.
  • Flush your eye: You may need to flush your eye with saline to help decrease your symptoms. Ask for more information on how to flush your eye.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your eyesight becomes blurry.
  • You have tiny bumps or spots of blood on your eye.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have worsening eye pain.
  • The swelling in your eye gets worse, even after treatment.
  • Your vision suddenly becomes worse or you cannot see at all.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Conjunctivitis (Discharge Care)

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