Family Practitioner Questions Eye Infections

How long does it take for a bacterial eye infection to subside?

I was recently diagnosed with a bacterial eye infection on my left eye. I have completed my medication course of 1 week, however the infection has still not subsided fully. How long should it take for a bacterial eye infection to get treated fully?

5 Answers

The question is whether you truly had a bacterial infection to start with. Most conjuntivitis is viral or allergies. Also, you could have a clogged tear duct. All of which would not respond to antibiotic eye drops. If indeed you have a bacterial eye infection there could be bacterial resistance or need a different antibiotic. Would be wise to go and see a different practitioner for a second opinion. Would recommend an ophthalmologist if able. Hope this helps!

Richard Aballay, MD
If you took the correct medication for the eye infection, it should be completely treated by one week. If you still have an infection after taking medications for one week, you will probably need to call your health care professional.
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It may take 2-4 weeks.
The answer to this question involves one of the most problematic areas of medicine today, namely antibiotic resistance. In diagnosing a bacterial infection, a culture of your conjunctiva (pink of lower eye) must be done. The culture must come back positive for a bacteria WITH the antibiotics that are effective against that organism. It is possible that the bacteria in the eye is resistant to the first antibiotic used.

If this culture is negative, the cause is nor a bacteria. The redness could be due to a scratch of the cornea (clear layer over the eye surface), foreign body of the eye, local irritation by allergy/virus (these are usually in both eyes) or dryness in the eye (needs lubricant drops). Depending on the above causes a different treatment is needed.
7-10 days