Doctors typically prescribe antibiotics in eyedrop or ointment form to treat bacterial conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, according to Mayo Clinic. For allergy-related conjunctivitis, physicians use eyedrop medications, including antihistamines, decongestants and anti-inflammatory drugs, to relieve the symptoms of the reaction. Individuals should also avoid any further contact with the allergy-inducing substance.
Most cases of viral conjunctivitis wonﾒt respond to medication, so doctors advise patients to wait for the infection to clear up naturally, according to Mayo Clinic. When the herpes simplex virus causes pink eye, doctors may prescribe antiviral drugs.
Pressing a warm or cool compress against the eye helps reduce discomfort, and individuals should periodically wipe the affected eye with a soft material, such as a cotton ball, soaked in water to clear away any crust or discharge, notes KidsHealth. Since conjunctivitis is highly contagious, individuals should avoid touching their eyes and thoroughly wash or discard any linens used to clean the area.
Conjunctivitis causes inflammation of blood vessels in the tissue membrane lining the eyelid and the outside of the eyeball, according to Mayo Clinic. This membrane, known as the conjunctiva, becomes swollen, red and irritated, making the eye feel gritty and itchy. Conjunctivitis also causes excessive tearing, and the eye may produce discharge that hardens to form crust, especially when the eye is closed for long periods.