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What are the Best over-The-Counter Pink Eye Treatments?

Anna T.
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The best over-the-counter pink eye treatments typically include eye drops for allergies and eye drops to help with pink eye symptoms, such as eye redness and itching. There is no cure for pink eye available over the counter when the cause of the infection is either bacteria or a virus, but the allergy eye drops might help to clear up pink eye when it is the result of an allergy flare-up. Pink eye that is the result of bacteria usually requires antibiotics for treatment, and pink eye that is caused by a virus will probably not go away until the virus has run its course. In addition to over-the-counter pink eye products, the use of a warm compress over the affected eye might help alleviate many of the uncomfortable symptoms.

When pink eye is the result of allergies, the problem usually disappears on its own after the allergy flare-up subsides. The eye drops available for allergic pink eye are typically needed about two times per day, and these eye drops are usually safe to use on children more than three years old. A person who is considering using eye drops for the allergic form of pink eye on her children should probably check with a doctor first regardless of the child's age just to be certain of the safety, because different brands likely contain different ingredients. Most people who use eye drops for pink eye related to allergies report improvements in their symptoms within a few days.

Over-the-counter pink eye medicines are also available to help with pink eye symptoms, although these medicines are not capable of curing pink eye. People who suffer from pink eye usually complain of watery eyes, itching, and redness. When used regularly, these medicines should help improve pink eye symptoms, but it is not likely the infection will go away on its own unless it is related to allergies. It is often difficult to use eye drops on very young children, so parents might want to check into eye ointment for alleviating pink eye symptoms rather than eye drops because the ointment is generally easier to apply to children.

The regular application of a warm compress on eyes affected by pink eye might be helpful in addition to using over-the-counter pink eye medication. Making a compress typically involves dampening a soft wash cloth with warm water. The wash cloth should be placed on the affected eye for five to ten minutes at a time before being removed. Doing this throughout the day will help to clear up eye redness as well as wipe away the buildup of eye debris in the corners of the eyes, which is a common symptom of pink eye.

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Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On Jul 09, 2014

@burcinc-- Eye wash will help, especially if there is pus in and around the eye due to the infection.

You can also clean the outside of your eye with boiled water and a few drops of baby shampoo in the water. My doctor recommended this when I had pink eye. I used a cotton ball to clean around the eye.

By burcinc — On Jul 08, 2014

Has any one tried eye wash for pink eye? Do they help?

I assume it would help since it washes out the bacteria and virus. But it's important to pay attention to hygiene and wash the cup after each use. Otherwise, it might make things worse by re-introducing the bacteria or virus to the eye later.

One of the best remedies for pink eye is hot chamomile tea bags. I have used them before. Chamomile is very soothing and it's great for the redness. The key is applying the tea bag and holding it on the eye for some time while it's hot. The heat seams to help as well. Of course, it shouldn't be so hot that it burns skin.

By ZipLine — On Jul 07, 2014

@Grivusangel-- I don't know about the homeopathic eye drops. I've never used them. But the other variety for redness and itching only really work for pink eye caused by allergies. The only eye drop that works for bacterial pink eye is antibiotic eye drops. And that's only available by prescription.

By Lostnfound — On Jul 07, 2014

I've used saline solutions with some success. The last time I had pink eye, it hit me all at once. My eyes were fine, then they started itching and in five minutes, I had discharge and serious redness.

I got some saline solution and washed them out, and that seemed to help for a while, but it got worse. I finally had to go to the ER and they gave me some antibiotic drops.

Pink eye is awful. It's painful and when I had it, the vision in both eyes was blurred and I couldn't believe how they itched. I may try the homeopathic remedies if I get it again.

By Grivusangel — On Jul 06, 2014

I've found that the drugstore brand of homeopathic eye drops has really helped me if I couldn't get to my eye doctor for antibiotic drops. It helps the itching and the redness.

Over the counter pink eye medicine does work, if it's the homeopathic kind, I've found. The other drops that are just for allergies or red eyes don't work as well. I asked my doctor about the homeopathic kind and he said to be careful not to use them too much, but they could be good when you can't get to a doctor for a day or two.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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