Acute Bacterial Conjunctivitis

What is Acute Bacterial Conjunctivitis?

Acute bacterial conjunctivitis is an eye infection caused by bacteria that affects the surface of your eye. It’s also known as bacterial pinkeye. It’s one of the most common causes of conjunctivitis and usually goes away on its own with time or with proper treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of acute bacterial conjunctivitis include:

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Itching or burning in the eyes
  • A gritty feeling as if you have sand in the eyes
  • White, yellow, or green discharge from one or both eyes
  • Eye irritation
  • Swollen or puffy eyelids
  • Crust on the lashes when you wake up in the morning

The affected eye may also be sensitive to light.


The most common cause of acute bacterial conjunctivitis is the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. Less common bacteria that can cause conjunctivitis include Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, or Moraxella catarrhalis.

Also, people can contract acute bacterial conjunctivitis through direct contact with a person’s tears or mucus that contains the bacteria.


Acute bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops. These antibiotics help kill the bacteria. It’s important to take all of the prescribed doses of the antibiotic medicine, even if the symptoms improve.

In some cases, ointment may be prescribed instead of drops.

For mild cases, the symptoms may clear up without treatment.

Prevention & Complications

Washing your hands often can help prevent the spread of acute bacterial conjunctivitis.

Complications can include vision loss, pain, and impaired vision if untreated.