Chloramphenicol is usually the first choice of antibiotic and comes in the form of eye drops.
It’s available without a prescription from pharmacies to treat bacterial conjunctivitis.
If eye drops aren’t suitable for you, you may be prescribed the antibiotic as an eye ointment instead.
Can I get antibiotic eye drops over the counter?
While there are no over-the-counter (OTC) products to cure conjunctivitis (pinkeye) caused by a bacterial or viral infection, there are some over-the-counter products that can relieve the symptoms of pinkeye caused by allergy or irritation. Antibiotic eye drops or ointments are prescribed for a bacterial infection.
Do you need a prescription for pink eye?
In most cases, you won’t need antibiotic eyedrops. Since conjunctivitis is usually viral, antibiotics won’t help, and may even cause harm by reducing their effectiveness in the future or causing a medication reaction. Instead, the virus needs time to run its course — up to two or three weeks.
How can you tell if conjunctivitis is viral or bacterial?
Both viral and bacterial pink eye cause the same general symptoms, including:
- pink or red color in the white of the eyes.
- itchy or scratchy feeling in the eye.
- burning or irritation.
- crusting of the eyelids or lashes, especially in the morning.
- discharge from the eye.
What antibiotic drops for conjunctivitis?
Bacterial conjunctivitis is most often treated with ophthalmic antibiotic eyedrops or ointments such as Bleph (sulfacetamide sodium), Moxeza (moxifloxacin), Zymar (gatifloxacin), Romycin (erythromycin), Polytrim (polymyxin/trimethoprim), Ak-Tracin, Bacticin (bacitracin), AK-Poly-Bac, Ocumycin, Polycin-B, Polytracin