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Pink Eye Antibiotics: Effective Way to Get Rid of Conjunctivitis

Gina Walters



Pink Eye, or Conjunctivitis, is an eye disease brought on by either bacteria, viruses, or allergens. 

Conjunctivitis has three types: viral, bacterial, and allergic, depending upon the causative factor.

Your doctor may recommend several medications, including antibiotics, to treat the condition.

However, antibiotics do not work for viral and allergic Conjunctivitis and are mainly intended to cure Bacterial Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria.

This article will mention some of the commonly used Pink Eye antibiotics and their side effects.

Pink Eye antibiotics

Antibiotics are primarily employed to treat Conjunctivitis caused by the bacteria. 

Antibiotic eye drops or ointment may help overcome bacterial Pink Eye symptoms faster. 

However, antibiotics are not always necessary.

Most mild symptoms of Bacterial pink eye usually vanish on their own in a few days without the need for any treatment.

For more severe or chronic symptoms of Bacterial Conjunctivitis, topical antibiotics are frequently prescribed.

In such serious cases of Bacterial Conjunctivitis, eye drops are frequently preferred over ointments due to their ease of use.

In rare cases, oral or injectable antibiotics may be required if Bacterial Conjunctivitis is caused by Chlamydia or Gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat of a person.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease more prone in women that can permanently harm a woman’s reproductive system if left untreated.

Antibiotics for Pink Eye usually come in the form of prescription eye drops and mainly include Ciprofloxacin, Tobramycin, Erythromycin, and Ofloxacin.

Want to know which bacterias lead to pink eyes? Read our articles: What Bacteria Causes Pink Eye? Know the Culprit Behind Bacterial Conjunctivitis


AmlodipineSource: signature_image
Ciprofloxacin(white pill)

Ciprofloxacin is a prescription medication that usually comes in the form of eye drops and ointments. 

An ophthalmic solution of Ciprofloxacin is used to treat Pink Eye and corneal ulcers. 

Ciprofloxacin belongs to a class of antibiotics known as Fluoroquinolone antibiotics.  

It functions by destroying the infection-causing bacteria, thereby relieving the symptoms of eye infection

Ciprofloxacin eye drops are often employed every two hours for at least five days. 


Tobramycin is usually recommended by doctors to treat severe cases of Bacterial Conjunctivitis. 

It is available in the form of ointments and  eye drops. 

Tobramycin belongs to a class of medications known as Aminoglycoside antibiotics. 

The medication functions by preventing the development of infection-causing bacteria. 

The standard prescribed dose of Tobramycin eye drops is every four hours for a duration of five to seven days.

When you use the drops, your eyesight can get somewhat blurry for a short duration.

If so, avoid driving a vehicle or performing any machinery work until you begin to see clearly.

Apart from prescription antibiotics, several over-the-counter (OTC) medications are also available to treat Pink Eye. 

Read our article: Exploring Over The Counter Pink Eye Medicine: Relief at Your Fingertips, to learn more about OTC products for Pink Eye.


Erythromycin belongs to a group of medications known as Macrolide antibiotics. 

It functions by eliminating infection-causing bacteria. 

Erythromycin generally comes in the form of an ointment to treat Bacterial Pink Eye

The recommended dose of Erythromycin is up to six times per day.

To treat the infection, a thin strip of the ointment is placed on your eyelid. 

For the first several minutes following application, it could cause minor blurriness in eyesight.

Understand how pink eye blurs your vision with our article: Pink Eye Blurry Vision: Causes, Duration, and Treatment


Ophthalmic Ofloxacin comes in the form of eye drops and is used to treat bacterial infections of the eye, such as corneal ulcers and Conjunctivitis. 

It belongs to a group of medications known as Quinolone antibiotics. 

Ofloxacin functions by eradicating the infection-causing bacteria. 

It can be applied to the affected eye two to four hours a day for five days.

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Besides medications, Pink Eye can be cured with some home remedies. Read our article: Exploring Quick Pink Eye Home Remedies, to know more.

Side effects of antibiotic drops for Pink Eye

Eye Twitching (side effect of Careprost)Source: GizemBDR_from_Getty_Images
Eyepain (side effect)

Although antibiotics are highly effective in treating Pink Eye, these medications sometimes may lead to undesirable side effects.

Mild side effects of Pink Eye antibiotics include:

  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Redness or itchiness in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Hazy vision
  • Teary eyes

In rare cases, these antibiotics can lead to the following severe side effects that call for immediate medical attention:

  • Trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Swelling in the face, arms, eyes, lips, throat, or tongue
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Allergic reactions

Explore the various side effects of pink eyes with our article: What are the Side Effects of Pink Eye Medicines?

Overuse or unnecessary use of any antibiotic might result in reduced efficacy and lead to side effects. Take the medication as directed by your doctor.


Pink Eye treatment differs depending on whether it is allergic, viral, or bacterial. 

Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory eye drops, artificial tears, and other over-the-counter medications may be used to treat the condition.

However, antibiotics are only effective in treating Pink Eye caused by bacteria. 

They are not effective against viral and allergic Conjunctivitis. 

Ciprofloxacin, Tobramycin, Erythromycin, and Ofloxacin are some of the commonly used Pink Eye antibiotics.

Besides being effective, these antibiotics can lead to some side effects, such as itchy and teary eyes.

Hence, it is advisable to reach out to a doctor before considering antibiotics or any other medications.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best antibiotics for Pink Eye?

Ciprofloxacin, Tobramycin, Erythromycin, and Ofloxacin are the best and most effective antibiotics for treating Pink Eye.

Is there any need for antibiotics for Pink Eye?

Usually, the symptoms of Pink Eye go on their own in a few days without needing any treatment. 
However, if symptoms persist, antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial Pink Eye. 
Antibiotics are not meant to be used for viral and allergic Pink Eye.

When should I treat the Pink Eye with antibiotics?

When a medical expert confirms that Pink Eye is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are usually administered. 
Serious symptoms such as pus-like discharge and substantial eye redness are common indicators of Bacterial Conjunctivitis.

Do antibiotics for Pink Eye require a prescription?

Yes, to get antibiotics for Pink Eye, you normally need a prescription from a medical professional. 
They will evaluate your symptoms and decide whether or not you need to take antibiotics.

How long after Pink Eye should I take antibiotics?

The length of antibiotic treatment varies according to the type of antibiotic provided and the severity of the infection. 
An antibiotic regimen for Pink Eye usually lasts between five and seven days. 

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