Eye Infection Treatment: What Works and What Doesn’t

Monali Sharma
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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eye infection treatment

Not only are eye infections unpleasant to look at, but also they feel unpleasant and painful.

Your eyes are susceptible to many risk factors, so it’s critical to take precautions.

One such risk factor, Bacterium Chlamydia Trachomatis, causes an eye infection Trachoma.

It is a public health problem in around 40 countries and has affected around two million people, lead to blindness.

Based on data from World Health Organisation, 125 million people live in Trachoma indigenous area and are at risk of blindness due to Trachoma.

Keep reading to take a comprehensive look at the many treatments available for eye infections.

Eye Infection Treatment

Eye infections usually develop when harmful microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, or viruses attack any part of the eye or nearby tissues.

There are many treatments available to treat the infection due to these microorganisms.

Based on this, your doctor may prescribe you the medications for eye infection treatment.

Bacterial infection treatments

There are effective eye infection treatments to inhibit the growth of these microorganisms, such as antibiotic eye drops or ointments.

Quinolones are antimicrobials usually prescribed as eye infection drops. They treat bacterial infections like Keratitis and Conjunctivitis.

They are a type of antibiotic that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Your Ophthalmologist will prescribe you medicines if you develop an eye infection due to Allergic Conjunctivitis. These include Antihistamines and Mast Cell Stabilizers. They help control the allergic reactions caused by bacteria.

Bacterial Eye infections are sometimes painful. To help with the inflammation, your eye doctor may recommend medicines to help control inflammation.

These medicines include Decongestants, Steroids, and Anti-inflammatory drops.

For Conjunctivitis and Keratitis, your doctor may prescribe you Ophthalmic eye drops containing 3 mg of Tobramycin (Toba DM), Norfloxacin (Norflox Eye Drop), and Ciprofloxacin.

Related Article:
If you want to learn more read our blog Eye Infection Medicine: A Comprehensive Guide.

Viral infections treatments

home remedies for eye infectionSource: ocskaymark_from_Getty_Images
eyelid infection

On the contrary, Viral infections need time to run their course. You do not need any medicines to treat viral eye infections.

Typically, this takes around two to three weeks.

Viral Conjunctivitis, which starts with one eye, can infect the other. However, it should gradually clear on its own.

You can take antiviral medicines if Herpes Simplex Virus is the cause of your Viral Conjunctivitis.

Fungal infection treatments

Eye infections almost always occur due to Viruses or bacteria.

However, fungal infection outbreaks are common in some warmer countries, affecting over 1 to 1.4 million people in a year.

For fungal eye infection treatments, Your Ophthalmologist may recommend any of the following:

  • Antifungal eye drops or pills
  • Antifungal injections through veins or directly through the infected eye

Surgery for Endophthalmitis

Endophthalmitis is an infection of intraocular fluids (Vitreous and Aqueous).

Vitreous is a gel-like substance that fills the inside of your eye.

It is a serious condition and needs to be treated as soon as possible. 

A doctor usually recommends surgery to treat poor vision that may cause due to Endophthalmitis.

You need to undergo an emergency surgery called Vitrectomy to treat this condition. It removes the infectious debris (Vitreous) from your eye.

During the surgery, Vitreous (Intraocular fluid) is removed from your eye and replaced with another solution.

The Endophthalmitis Vitrectomy study, published in 1995, infers that Vitrectomy achieves the best visual results for patients with poor eyesight caused due to Endophthalmitis.

Over the last 28 years, Vitrectomy techniques have changed significantly and have better outcomes from the surgery.

Home treatment for eye infection

Throughout the day, your eyes can be exposed to various irritants like dirt, smoke, and pollen.

Due to this, it is essential to wash your eyes as effectively and quickly as possible for relief.

You can try some of the following home remedies to prevent eye infections.


Saltwater, also called Saline, is water with a significant amount of dissolves salts.

The salt in salt water solution has antimicrobial properties.

It helps to remove dirt, chemicals, or any discharge from your eyes that may lead to eye problems.

There are some artificial solutions you can buy at stores, but you can just make them simply at home.

How to use

To use salt water at home, you can follow the instructions given below.

  • Boil one cup of water with up to 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Use distilled water since tap water can contain impurities or chemicals
  • Let the solution cool down completely
  • You can use an eye dropper or eye cup to rinse the eye with a salt solution
  • Repeat this several times a day
  • Avoid using the same solution for more than two days

Tea bags

Tea bags can help reduce the discomfort associated with eye infections.

It is not an alternative to medical treatments but has several benefits.

Teas like black tea and green tea have flavonoids and tannins. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Other than green or black tea, you can also use alternatives with the same beneficial properties,

  • Chamomile tea
  • Eyebright tea
  • Rooibos tea

How to use

You can use tea bags as compresses by taking the following steps.

  • Take hot water and steep two tea bags in that water
  • Remove tea bags from the water and squeeze the water out
  • Let tea bags cool down for a bit until they are warm. You can keep them in the refrigerator to speed up the process
  • Place these tea bags on your eyes for 15 to 20 minutes

You can use tea bags to reduce eye discomforts such as swelling, inflammation, dryness, and puffy eyes.

Warm compress

Warm compresses are a good option if you have dry or itchy eyes.

It can also help soothe the pain of styes by reducing the blockage that causes the stye.

How to use

To use a warm compress, you can follow the instructions

  • Fill a bowl with warm water (not hot water)
  • Put a clean cloth on it
  • Squeeze the water completely out of the cloth
  • Place it on your eyes for several minutes
  • Repeat the process when the cloth gets cold
  • Use a clean washcloth each time

Warm compresses provide instant relief to the eyes. 

The moisture of the warm compress hydrates the eyes and reduces the grittiness.

Cold compress

Cold compresses are safe and effective home remedies for eye discomfort.

You can use them to relieve the swelling, pain, and dryness that may occur due to eye infections.

How to use a cold compress

You can make cold compresses by following the given steps:

  • Place a clean cloth under running water
  • Wring out the water from the cloth completely
  • Put the cloth in a plastic bag and place the bag in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
  • Place the cloth on your closed eyes for 15 minutes
  • Repeat the process until you get better

Avoid putting ice directly on the skin. 

Also, avoid putting frozen compresses on the eyes for longer than 20 minutes to avoid frostbite.

Boric acid for eye infection

Boric acid belongs to the class of medications called Ophthalmologic Agents.

It has antibiotic properties beneficial for treating fungal and bacterial infections.

Boric Acid Ophthalmic is used as an eye wash to clean the eyes by removing pollutants such as chemicals, dirt, or smog.

Using it provides soothing relief from eye pain and irritation.

Side effects

Get immediate medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of your face, throat, lips, or tongue.

Call your eye doctor at once if you have any of the following side effects:

watery eyes Source: Wikimedia_Commons
watery eyes
  • Severe burning or stinging
  • Severe eye pain
  • Vision changes lasting for several hours after use
  • Eye irritation
  • Watery eyes
  • Eye redness

How to take

Use this medication as directed on the leaflet, or follow your doctor’s instructions.

  • Boric acid is usually given using an eye cup
  • Use a sterile cup and avoid touching its rims while using it
  • Best to use the medicine while standing over a sink
  • Fill the eye cup about halfway with Boric Acid solution and bring the cup to your eye
  • Press it tightly to your face around the eye
  • Tilt your head back and wide open your eye
  • Move the eye around in all directions to get the medicine in the eyeball and cleanse it thoroughly
  • Bend forward over a sink while still pressing the cup to your eye
  • Remove the eye cup and empty it into the sink
  • Let any remaining Boric acid solution drain from your eye into the sink
  • If needed, repeat the procedure with the other eye
  • After using the medicine, pat the skin dry around your eye

Things to remember

Boric Acid Ophthalmic is for use only in eyes. Avoid getting it in the mouth, nose, or ears.

Do not use the medicine if you have injury wounds near your eyes, or take precautions while using it so that it does not get into any wound.

Do not use the Boric Acid solution if you are allergic to it.

If your condition does not improve or worsens after using boric acid, seek immediate medical attention.

Boric acid is a weak antibiotic and should not be used to treat any type of infection without consulting a doctor first.

Do not rub your eyelids after using the medicine.

Store Boric acid Ophthalmic solution at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep the solution container sealed until you are ready to use it.

Avoid using the medication if you are wearing contact lenses. Soft contact lenses can absorb preservatives in the medication and can cause discoloration. After using it, you can wait for 15 minutes before putting on your contact lenses.


Various factors may cause an eye infection.

However, depending on the causes, there are many effective eye infection treatments that your doctor may prescribe you.

You can also take care of your eyes from your side to keep them clean.

You can use eyewash or some home remedies to prevent eye infections.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to treat eye infections?

Eye infection treatments usually depend on the cause of the infection. Your doctor will diagnose if the infection is due to some microorganism and give you the proper medication based on it. In rare cases, you may need surgery to treat eye infections.

How to treat eye infections at home?

Viral infection often does not need any treatment as it goes away. However, it is important to identify the eye infection’s cause to avoid complications. Thus stay in contact with your doctor to properly diagnose it.

Can I go to urgent care for an eye infection?

Yes. Taking proper eye care is important to prevent eye infections. Thus, if you suspect anything wrong with your eye, you can visit the nearest eye hospital and have it checked.

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