What Is the Treatment for Viral Eye Infections Compared to Bacterial Eye Infections?


Quick Answer

Viral eye infections usually don't require any treatment because they clear on their own once the virus has run its course, but bacterial eye infections are treated with prescription antibiotic eyedrops. However, antiviral medication may be prescribed if the viral infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus, states Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Artificial tears, topical antihistamines, and cool compresses may be used to relieve the symptoms of viral eye infections, according to Medscape. Viral eye infections are highly contagious. Patients are advised to wash their hands regularly and discard contact lenses and makeup worn during the infection to avoid re-infection and infecting others, notes WebMD.

Eyedrops or ointments used to treat bacterial eye infections may need to be applied inside the eyelid three to four times a day, and the patient is advised to use the drugs as prescribed even if the symptoms disappear, explains WebMD.

Symptoms of both types of eye infections include: blurred vision, crust that forms on the eyelid overnight, itchy and painful eyes, and increased tearing and redness in eyes. An eye examination or a swab of the conjunctiva for analysis is used to distinguish between the two infection types, notes MedlinePlus.

Avoid eye infections by not sharing eye cosmetics and towels, changing pillowcases regularly, and handling and cleaning contact lenses properly, according to MedlinePlus.

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