Depending on the cause of conjunctivitis, doctors may recommend allergy eye drops, antibiotic eye drops or artificial tears, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors only prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments, such as ciprofloxacin, gentamicin and Tobrex, for bacterial conjunctivitis, notes WebMD.
Artificial tears, which are available without a prescription, relieve dryness and swelling associated with viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, whereas allergy eye drops relieve symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. Common allergy eye drops include antihistamine drops, steroid drops and anti-inflammatory drops, notes Mayo Clinic. Viral conjunctivitis typically lasts seven to 14 days, and bacterial conjunctivitis usually improves after 24 hours of antibiotic treatment, explains the CDC.