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Are there any over-the-counter products that get rid of pinkeye?


While there are no over-the-counter (OTC) products to cure conjunctivitis (pinkeye) caused by a bacterial or viral infection, there are some over-the-counter products that can relieve the symptoms of pinkeye caused by allergy or irritation.

Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) is an inflammation of the eye that causes redness and swelling of the conjunctiva (a membrane that lines the eyelids and eyeball). Pinkeye is very common and can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, an allergic reaction, chemicals entering the eye, or an unopened tear duct. Because certain types of pinkeye can be highly contagious, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause and discuss the appropriate treatment. (In addition, if you are experiencing these symptoms, be sure to avoid touching your eyes. And, to prevent spreading infectious pinkeye, always wash your hands with warm soapy water; dry off with your own towel. Do not share your towel with anyone.)

Antibiotic eye drops or ointments are prescribed for a bacterial infection. Make sure you follow the directions to the letter, and use the medication for as long as prescribed. Stopping the treatment early can make the bacteria resistant, and the infection will become harder to treat.

OTC decongestant eye drops such as naphazoline ophthalmic (for example, the brand-name products Bausch & Lomb Opcon-A® or Clear Eyes® Redness Reliever Eye Drops) can help get rid of the redness of bacterial conjunctivitis, but not the infection.

There is no treatment for pinkeye due to a viral infection. It will clear up on its own within seven to 10 days. Placing warm compresses on your eyes may help with the itching.

A homeopathic treatment for symptoms that is available over the counter is Similasan's Homeopathic Irritated Eye Relief Drops®, which works by stimulating the eye's natural ability to relieve the redness, watery discharge, and burning associated with viral and environmental conjunctivitis.

For pinkeye due to allergies, your doctor may advise using an over-the-counter allergy eye drop. Prescription eye drops also are available for eye symptoms due to allergies. Cool compresses over the eyes may help with the itching.

View eye drops and ointments.

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