The best at home treatment for pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is the alternating application of cool and warm compresses to the affected eye. The compress should be applied to the eye for about five to 10 minutes a few times a day.
Because pink eye can be contagious, a cloth should ideally be placed in the wash and bleached after a single use. If only one eye is affected, the patient should be careful not to use the cloth to wipe the healthy eye. The cloth should not be shared with another person.
Patients can also use over-the-counter artificial tears a few times a day. Pink eye that's the result of an allergy can be treated with eye drops made for allergies. These can be medicines that cause the blood vessels in the eye to narrow or antihistamines, which should relieve itching. Pink eye also responds to steroidal eyedrops, but these need to be prescribed by a doctor. A person who wears contact lenses should temporarily stop wearing them until the condition clears up.
Conjunctivitis that is caused by bacteria can be treated by oral antibiotics. If the bacteria has also led to a sexually transmitted infection, the patient's sexual partner may need to be treated as well to limit the infection's spread.