What is the duration of bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye) and what are the treatment options?

Updated: Jan 03, 2019
  • Author: Karen K Yeung, OD, FAAO; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Bacterial conjunctivitis generally last 1-2 weeks and is usually self-limiting. The mainstay of treatment for bacterial conjunctivitis is topical antibiotic therapy, with the intent of significantly reducing the duration of symptoms and likelihood of contagion. Ideally, the antibiotic should be specific for the causative organism. Unfortunately, bacterial culturing, although recommended, is not always available nor cost-effective for routine cases, and Gram stain may take several days to yield results.


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