Conjunctivitis treatment by antibiotics may be harmful to your eyes

Often antibiotic eye drops or ointments are prescribed by many eye doctors for the treatment of Pink eye or conjunctivitis. But antibiotic eye drops or ointment may not require in all cases of acute conjunctivitis treatment. Recently an article published by American Academy Of Ophthalmology journal regarding treatment pattern of acute conjunctivitis and role of antibiotics to treat acute conjunctivitis. As per the report, many doctors prescribed unnecessary topical antibiotics, which may be harmful to the eyes.

This is a United States population-based study and 340372 patients’ data were included. Total, 14 years (2001-2014) nationwide patients’ data included in this study. As per the study, approximately 60% patients were prescribed antibiotics for the first time diagnosis acute conjunctivitis and 20% of them are combined with corticosteroid eye drop which may be contraindicated for the treatment of acute conjunctivitis. Based on the study many practitioners unnecessary prescribed topical antibiotic for acute conjunctivitis. Unnecessary or overusing antibiotics may be increasing the cost of treatment and antibiotic resistance. So types of conjunctivitis diagnosis are very important before treating it.

Bacterial, Viral and Allergic are the three major types of conjunctivitis. Antibiotic eye drops are not effective against allergic conjunctivitis and viral conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis resolved automatically in several days. Our body fight against viruses. A home remedy like cold compress may be applied for relieving symptoms. Also, lubricant eye drops can be used for the same reason.

Mild bacterial conjunctivitis is usually self-limiting and mostly they cured in the 1-2 week period of time without any medicine. We need to treat the symptoms of the disease. Most doctors prescribed a combination lubricant eye drops and topical antibiotics. Culturing is important for treating moderate to severe conjunctivitis. Unfortunately, facilities not available in all places. This is also a reason for prescribing antibiotic eye drops for acute conjunctivitis.  Lubricant eye drops for symptom relief like itching, foreign body sensation, dryness, etc and antibiotics for stop progression of the disease.

The latest generation antibiotic fluoroquinolones provide excellent effects against gram-negative and some gram-positive bacteria. Fortified antibiotics are also prescribed in severe conjunctivitis.

Topical steroid prescribes with antibiotics for decreasing the corneal scar. But there is a controversy of this therapy. Because steroids may slow down the healing process. Also, steroids having side effects. That’s why steroids should prescribe very carefully and the patient should understand the proper doses of steroids. Steroids may increase the risk of corneal melting and elevated IOP (Intra Ocular Pressure). Elevated IOP is caused Optic nerve damage which known as Glaucoma.

Few real facts about Steroid prescription:-

As I told before steroid eye drops help to reduce corneal scarring, but they can increase IOP, a risk of corneal melting and slow down the healing process. Many people don’t aware about the side effects of steroids. Many patients don’t go to doctor consultant for red eye, pink eye or conjunctivitis treatment. They reuse the same medication for reinfection or advice to use the same medication to someone in the family who got redness or an eye infection. Lack of awareness about steroids and misuse steroids has been always harmful to eyes. Due to this reason, many people got glaucoma or lose their vision.

So don’t use any medication without doctor consult. Also, eye doctors should inform patients about the side effects of steroids.


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Note: – This article is only for information purpose. If you are getting the red eye or pink eye or conjunctivitis then you need to contact with an eye doctor for conjunctivitis treatment.

Krishnendu Mandal
Optometrist, Blogger, Blogging since Jan 2016



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