Pink Eye Treatment for Children and Adults

More widely referred to as "pink eye," conjunctivitis is a common eye condition that affects children and adults alike. The term pink eye refers to the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin, clear film that covers the white part of the eye. When the blood vessels in the eye become inflamed due to a viral infection, bacteria, or allergies, they dilate. This can cause your eyes to become red, itchy, and uncomfortable. If you have conjunctivitis, one of the doctors at Southwest Eye Care and Laser in Bakersfield, CA, can diagnose the underlying cause and recommend the best form of treatment. 

man with conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis can result in an itching or burning sensation and pink discoloration.

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

Young children and school or daycare employees have a higher risk of developing conjunctivitis because of their proximity to each other and exposure to other elements that commonly cause the condition.

Treatment can prevent the spread of the infection and reduce uncomfortable symptoms.

To reduce your risk of conjunctivitis, never share personal items like contact lenses, and make sure to wash your hands frequently to avoid contamination. If you are a swimmer, you should wear appropriate eye protection and practice good hygiene to avoid an infection caused by an irritant like chlorine. 

Types of Conjunctivitis

There are several types of conjunctivitis to be aware of, including allergic, bacterial, and viral.


Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by irritants. It can occur seasonally or year-round. Like viral conjunctivitis, patients often experience watery, itchy eyes and a burning sensation. This may be accompanied by a stuffy nose and other allergy-like symptoms. While viral and bacterial symptoms can be present in one or both eyes, allergic conjunctivitis typically affects both eyes. 


Bacterial conjunctivitis is most often caused by bacteria from your skin or a contaminated surface. This form of conjunctivitis is characterized by yellow or green, sticky discharge that gathers at the corner of the eye. Discharge can cause the eyelids to stick together. To avoid spreading bacterial conjunctivitis, do not touch other items after you have touched your eye. If left untreated, bacterial conjunctivitis can have serious consequences. 


Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious and is commonly referred to as pink eye. It is typically caused by the virus associated with the common cold. Symptoms include watery, itchy eyes and sensitivity to light. Viral conjunctivitis usually resolves on its own after a few days. 


In order to prescribe the most appropriate treatment, one of our doctors will review your symptoms and medical history. We will need to determine whether health issues or environmental factors are causing the issue. To examine the area, we may perform a visual assessment of the conjunctiva and eye tissue using a magnifier and bright light. Depending on the case, we may also take cultures from the eye for additional testing. Sometimes, other conditions masquerade as conjunctivitis. A thorough examination can rule out dry eye or other dermatological disease. 

Prescribing Treatment

Your treatment will be dependent on the type of conjunctivitis you have.

  • Allergic: Artificial tears, allergy medication, or PAZEO® eyedrops can reduce the incidence of allergic conjunctivitis and help you feel more comfortable.
  • Bacterial: Prescription eye drops or topical ointments can treat bacterial conjunctivitis. The most commonly used antibiotic eye drops for bacterial conjunctivitis is Moxifloxacin.
  • Viral: Viral conjunctivitis usually clears on its own after a few days. However, we can provide Zirgan® as a topical treatment for viral conjunctivitis. Zirgan helps expedite your recovery, relieve your symptoms, and manage your condition before you spread it to others. 

Treatment can prevent the spread of the infection and reduce uncomfortable symptoms.

Schedule Your Visit Today

If you or your child is suffering from the symptoms of conjunctivitis, our doctors recommend immediate testing. A visit to our office can help our team diagnose an underlying issue to prevent complications. Schedule an exam by contacting us online or by calling us directly at (661) 393-2331.

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