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What happens when you apply antibiotics eye ointment on viral conjunctivitis (pink eye)?

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lisa Roberts
Pediatrics
3 doctors agree

In brief: No improvement

Viral conjunctivitis doesn't respond to antibiotics.
If you apply antibiotic ointment when there's a viral infection, the pink eye will remain pink & will only improve with time. Cool compresses may help. The risk of using antibiotics in the eye when not necessary include: possible allergic reaction (eye may get redder/swollen) & possibly developing resistance to that antibiotic in the future.

In brief: No improvement

Viral conjunctivitis doesn't respond to antibiotics.
If you apply antibiotic ointment when there's a viral infection, the pink eye will remain pink & will only improve with time. Cool compresses may help. The risk of using antibiotics in the eye when not necessary include: possible allergic reaction (eye may get redder/swollen) & possibly developing resistance to that antibiotic in the future.
Dr. Lisa Roberts
Dr. Lisa Roberts
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