The best over-the-counter pink eye treatments typically include eye drops for allergies and eye drops to help with pink eye symptoms, such as eye redness and itching. There is no cure for pink eye available over the counter when the cause of the infection is either bacteria or a virus, but the allergy eye drops might help to clear up pink eye when it is the result of an allergy flare-up. Pink eye that is the result of bacteria usually requires antibiotics for treatment, and pink eye that is caused by a virus will probably not go away until the virus has run its course. In addition to over-the-counter pink eye products, the use of a warm compress over the affected eye might help alleviate many of the uncomfortable symptoms.
When pink eye is the result of allergies, the problem usually disappears on its own after the allergy flare-up subsides. The eye drops available for allergic pink eye are typically needed about two times per day, and these eye drops are usually safe to use on children more than three years old. A person who is considering using eye drops for the allergic form of pink eye on her children should probably check with a doctor first regardless of the child's age just to be certain of the safety, because different brands likely contain different ingredients. Most people who use eye drops for pink eye related to allergies report improvements in their symptoms within a few days.
Over-the-counter pink eye medicines are also available to help with pink eye symptoms, although these medicines are not capable of curing pink eye. People who suffer from pink eye usually complain of watery eyes, itching, and redness. When used regularly, these medicines should help improve pink eye symptoms, but it is not likely the infection will go away on its own unless it is related to allergies. It is often difficult to use eye drops on very young children, so parents might want to check into eye ointment for alleviating pink eye symptoms rather than eye drops because the ointment is generally easier to apply to children.
The regular application of a warm compress on eyes affected by pink eye might be helpful in addition to using over-the-counter pink eye medication. Making a compress typically involves dampening a soft wash cloth with warm water. The wash cloth should be placed on the affected eye for five to ten minutes at a time before being removed. Doing this throughout the day will help to clear up eye redness as well as wipe away the buildup of eye debris in the corners of the eyes, which is a common symptom of pink eye.