Which antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye)?

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

For mild and non–vision-threatening bacterial conjunctivitis, older-generation antibiotics should be used. Later-generation antibiotics should be reserved for more serious infections to minimize creation of bacterial resistance in the ocular surface flora. [23] For moderate to severe bacterial conjunctivitis, the latest-generation fluoroquinolones provide excellent gram-negative and some gram-positive bacterial coverage. Fortified antibiotics are also used in severe cases. Systemic antibiotics are indicated for N gonorrhoeae and chlamydial infections. Surgical intervention is required only when indicated for the treatment of causative conditions, such as hordeolum, nasolacrimal duct obstruction, or sinusitis.


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