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Bacterial Pink Eye: A Guide to Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Gina Walters


bacterial pink eye

Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye is an eye infection that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and allergens.

Pink Eye caused by bacteria, such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, is known as Bacterial Pink Eye.

It is highly communicable and can be transmitted from one person to another.

This article highlights the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of Bacterial Pink Eye.

What is Bacterial Pink Eye

Pink Eye is an infection of the conjunctiva.

When bacteria invade and disrupt the conjunctiva, it can lead to Bacterial Pink Eye. 

Bacterial Pink Eyes occur due to direct contact with infected people or things, including face towels. 

It can also arise from abnormal growth of the conjunctival bacteria. 

Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis, can lead to Bacterial Pink Eye.

Although Bacterial Pink Eye can affect individuals of all age groups, it is more prone among children.

Besides toddlers and adults, newborns are more susceptible to acquiring Bacterial Conjunctivitis in the first 28 days of life through an infected birth canal.

Also, other individuals who are more likely to get Bacterial Pink Eye include: 

  • Elderly people
  • Those wearing contact lenses
  • Diabetics
  • People with weakened immune systems
People who wear contact lenses have a higher risk of getting their eyes affected by gram-negative bacteria.

Several pathogenic bacteria can lead to Bacterial Pink Eye. Read our article: What Bacteria Causes Pink Eye? Know the Culprit Behind Bacterial Conjunctivitis to explore further.

Bacterial Pink Eye symptoms

Eye redness (viral pink eye symptom)Source: dtimiraos_from_Getty_Images
Eye redness

Bacterial Pink Eye usually starts from one eye and then eventually spreads to another eye. 

The infected eye or red eyes.

After sleeping, mucus or pus may accumulate and adhere to the lashes or stick them together. 

Additionally, pus can make vision hazy and blurry, but if pus is removed from the eye by blinking, vision usually returns to normal. 

However, Conjunctivitis without discharge may indicate Blepharitis ( infection of eyelids) or dry eyes.

Bacterial Pink Eye patients frequently complain of a burning sensation or itchiness in the eyes

Apart from these common symptoms, some patients also complain of watery eyes and increased light sensitivity.

Understand the various causes of pink eye with our article: Uncovering Pink Eye Causes: A Comprehensive Guide

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Treating Bacterial Pink Eye

Most cases of acute Bacterial Pink Eye resolve on their own in a few days without requiring any medical treatment. 

However, some pathogenic species of bacteria causing the condition have the potential to produce more severe symptoms.  

If you have Bacterial Pink Eye, your ophthalmologist may recommend antibiotic eye drops based on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying causative bacteria. 

Bacterial Pink Eye treatment with antibiotics has also been shown to shorten the duration of symptoms and quicken the removal of bacteria from the conjunctival surface. 

Antibiotics stop the Bacterial Pink Eye from spreading after 24 hours of treatment.

This, in turn, lowers the possibility of transmission of the infection.

The most common antibiotics for Bacterial Pink Eye include Ciprofloxacin, Tobramycin, Erythromycin, and Ofloxacin.

It is necessary to finish your antibiotics dose even after your symptoms improve.

Discontinuing the antibiotics in the middle of the treatment duration may increase the chances of the infection coming back.

Bacterial Pink Eye can be treated without medical aid. Read our article: How to Treat Bacterial Pink Eye Naturally at Home to discover natural ways to cure Bacterial Pink Eye.

Preventing Bacterial Pink Eye

avoid rubbing eyesSource: Asia_Images_Group
Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes

Direct contact with liquid discharge from an infected person’s eyes or contact with contaminated surfaces are the most typical ways Bacterial Pink Eye spreads.

Maintaining good hygiene helps lower the chance of the illness spreading to other people:

  • If you have Bacterial Pink Eye, avoid sharing handkerchiefs, tissues, towels, makeup, bedsheets, and pillows with family members or friends
  • Use warm water and soap to wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds
  • Refrain from rubbing or touching your eyes with dirty hands
  • Thoroughly wash your hands after coming in contact with an infected person or their contaminated items
  • Avoid wearing eye makeup and sharing your cosmetics with others 
  • Do not wear contact lenses if you have Bacterial Pink Eye until the infection clears up
  • Ensure cleaning or replacing your contact lenses once your Bacterial Pink Eye Symptoms go away

Explore the various pink eye treatment options with our article: All About Pink Eye Treatment: From Home Remedies to Medical Solutions

Pink Eye caused by STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) is more likely to result in complications, such as corneal perforation, ulceration, and scarring.


Bacterial Pink Eye is caused by bacteria, such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus.

It is highly communicable and can be spread among individuals by direct contact with the infected person or things.

Bacterial Pink Eye can lead to itchy, swelling, and red eyes.

It also causes liquid discharge from the eyes that may make it difficult to open the eyes.

Ciprofloxacin and Erythromycin are the most commonly prescribed Bacterial Pink Eye antibiotics

However, in most cases, the symptoms may go on their own in a few days without medical intervention.

Maintaining hygiene aids in preventing the further spread of the infection.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Bacterial Pink Eye last?

Bacterial Pink Eyes generally last for about 2 to 5 days with treatment
But it may take around 2 weeks for the symptoms to go away completely.

Is Pink Eye a bacterial infection?

No, Pink Eye is not only caused by bacteria.
It is an eye disease that can develop due to viruses, bacteria, and other allergens.

Does Bacterial Pink Eye go away on its own?

Usually, the Bacterial Pink Eye symptoms go away on their own in 2 to 5 days without needing any medical aid.

How does Bacterial Pink Eye spread?

Bacterial Pink Eye can spread from one person to another by direct contact or sharing clothes and other infected items.
It can also spread to another eye by rubbing or touching an infected eye.

How can Bacterial Pink Eye be treated?

Antibiotics, such as Ciprofloxacin and Ofloxacin, are the first line of treatment for Bacterial Pink Eye.

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