Persistent conjunctivitis - meds aren't helping; can you?
May 2, 2013 10:21 AM   Subscribe

I have conjunctivitis and I have been taking drops plus putting ointment (antibiotics) on the skin outside the eye for 2 weeks now. This was supposed to take a few days to clear up according to the doctor but it hasn't. My eyes aren't red but the skin around the eyes keep scaling and peeling off and just not seeming to actually HEAL once and for all and clear up. What else can I do / what could I be doing wrong?
posted by soooo to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
Have you seen an ophthalmologist, or just a regular GP? I had a really bad case of viril conjunctivitis once that lasted for over a month until I saw a specialist. It turned out to be really easy to cure with the proper treatment (and a lot of allergy meds, since my allergies were exacerbating the whole thing.) Is it possible you're having a bad reaction to the medication itself too that's lasting longer than the original problem?
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:24 AM on May 2, 2013

I was coming in to say viral conjunctivitis too. I once had a bad case of viral conjunctivitis with corneal infiltrates and the doctor gave me steroid drops. The peeling thing may be something completely unrelated, or an allergic reaction to the drops as jetlagaddict has suggested. I would call back and get another appointment.
posted by Fairchild at 10:36 AM on May 2, 2013

This sounds like viral conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis generally clears up really quickly - have you called your doctor? Did you see an ophthalmologist?
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:43 AM on May 2, 2013

Oh, and another thing: Did you have any yellow discharge? If you didn't, you probably don't have bacterial conjunctivitis and do have viral conjunctivitis. Which is easy to treat with the right treatment - get thee to a specialist!
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:52 AM on May 2, 2013

Response by poster: No yellow discharge. Just crusting around the eye on one side (the swelling and watering has diminished). I went to see the GP and she gave me these drops AND the ointment. The eye itself is NOT pink. Have tried apple cider vinegar with water, green tea bags and it only temporarily relieves the itchiness before drying the skin out. How do I rid viral conjunctivitis then?
posted by soooo at 10:55 AM on May 2, 2013

How do I rid viral conjunctivitis then?

You really need to see an ophthalmologist; apple cider vinegar is not going to clear it up. Your doctor can and should prescribe better medications for you after assessing what your eyes and skin actually look like.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:01 AM on May 2, 2013

Keep all that shit away from your eyes and see a doctor ASAP! These are your eyes - take them seriously.

Whatever the doctor gives you will work faster than whatever you're reading up on on the internet. Conjunctivitis fucking sucks, so getting rid of it faster will be a win win win, right?
posted by ablazingsaddle at 11:06 AM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nthing going to an ophthalmologist instead of just your GP.

When I had conjunctivitis, I think being super aware of th fact my eyes were diseased helped. Wash your hands every time you even think about touching your eyes (including before and after you administer medication). Don't sleep directly on your pillows, but use a towel between you and your pillow. Swap your slept on towel for a clean one every day. Wash the slept on towel and anything else that came in contact with your face in hot water. Basically do everything you can to prevent getting eye germs on anything.

For the dry, red skin around your eyes you may be able to apply a light lotion to the area in order to relieve the irritation. I'd recommend something like Olay for sensitive skin. You can usually find a small bottle in the travel size section of the store - and you should get a small bottle since you're going to have to toss it once the infection has cleared. Just remember to be careful about contamination, so don't dispense lotion on the same finger you used to touch the first eye you treated.
posted by youngergirl44 at 1:20 PM on May 2, 2013

OK, this is a bit gross, but:

Last time I got itchy, watery, inflamed eyes with peeling skin around them, the drops and antihistamines did nothing - and then I took a yeast infection pill (fluconazole). It cleared right up.

So, yeast or another fungus could be the answer.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:37 PM on May 2, 2013

See an ophthalmologist; worth considering that this might not be conjunctivitis.
posted by gramcracker at 6:15 PM on May 2, 2013

This is hippiedippy to the max, but smearing honey on your eyelids and blinking it into your eyes can clear up pinkeye almost immediately. Heads up, it stings but is amazing with its antibacterial properties.
posted by banannafish at 11:04 PM on May 2, 2013

Please check your medication instructions or with your pharmacist, typically the medication for conjunctivitis goes IN the eye, not on the skin around it. The conjunctiva are a part of your eye, what is going on with the skin around the eye is probably related, but it is not conjunctivitis (literally, inflammation of the conjunctiva). Putting an antibiotic ointment for conjunctivitis on your skin is probably not going to be very helpful, although you did not specify what type of ointment it is.

Also viral conjunctivitis typically goes away on its own. Bacterial versus viral cannot be reliably diagnosed by the color of the discharge. Honey does have antibacterial properties but since you have access to medical care, I would agree with the advice to see an ophthalmologist rather than trying to self diagnose or put anything painful in your eye. IANYD.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:28 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was given drops and ointment to treat conjunctivitis, and it kept seeming to improve through the day and then being worse when I woke up in the morning. Finally, FINALLY I made the connection - my eyes were worse in the morning because I was putting the ointment on them at night! Turns out I am allergic to chloramphenicol/chloromycetin ointment (really shouldn't have been that much of a surprise as my mother was also allergic to it) and once I stopped using the ointment they cleared up very quickly. Oddly enough, the drops were fine. So that is a possibility, however unlikely.
posted by Cheese Monster at 2:18 AM on May 3, 2013

Chamomile tea is better for your eyes/skin than vinegar or green tea. It should make the redness go down. I had a case of conjunctivitis a few months ago that I took care of with just that. Make a new batch morning/evening and pat your eyes and the skin around them with cotton dipped in the warm tea.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 5:01 PM on May 3, 2013

A couple of years ago I developed an allergic reaction to the glaucoma drops. I assume it was to the media not the medication because I was allergic to 2 different kinds of drops. My symptoms were similar to yours.
posted by andreap at 7:00 AM on May 4, 2013

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