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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Opthamology & Optometry > Pink Eye Treatment

Pink Eye Treatment Cost

How Much Does Pink Eye Treatment Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: Copays or 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $1,800-$4,000+ Per Year
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Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is an inflammation of the mucus membrane that lines the eye and eyelid. It can be caused by infection, allergies or irritants. Symptoms can include itching, swelling, redness and excessive tear production. Pink eye usually is not considered serious and often resolves without treatment.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, prescription drug copays or coinsurance of 10%-50%. Treatment for pink eye typically is covered by insurance.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, treatment for pink eye can cost from $50 to almost $200 or more for an initial doctor visit. Treatment can cost less than $50 for cold compresses and artificial tears for viral pink eye. It can cost from less than $15-$120 or more for antibiotic eye drops for bacterial pink eye. And it can cost from less than $15 to $130 or more for antihistamine eye drops for allergy-related pink eye, and up to almost $4,000 for the first year, then up to $1,800 or more per year, for allergy shots.
  • A doctor visit for pink eye costs about $65 at urgent care or up to $190 or more at an emergency room, according to Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield[1] mutual insurance company. Eastern Maine Medical Center[2] charges $50 for a visit for pink eye, while Physicians Urgent Care in Tennessee charges about $65 and The Little Clinic[3] urgent care center, with locations in six states including Arizona, Colorado, and Ohio, charges $79, plus possibly an additional $23 pink eye lab test fee. The Minute Clinic[4] at CVS pharmacy charges $79-$89.
  • For treatment,[5] charges about $10-$20 for preservative-free artificial tears. And[6] charges $3-$17 for cold compresses.
  • charges about $13 for a bottle of generic sulfacetamide sodium[7] antibiotic drops. It charges about $23 for a bottle of generic tobramycin sulfate[8] antibiotic drops, and about $73 for the brand-name equivalent, Tobrex[9] . It charges about $36-$70, depending on dose, for a bottle of generic tobramycin-dexamethasone, a combination antibiotic-corticosteroid eye drop, and $67-$123 for the brand-name equivalent, TobraDex[10] .
  • charges about $15 for a bottle of Zaditor[11] over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops. It charges about $32 per bottle for generic cromolyn sodium[12] prescription antihistamine eye drops. It charges about $130 per bottle for Patanol[13] prescription brand-name antihistamine eye drops. Or, allergy shots cost about $1,500-$3,900 for the first year, then $720 to $1,800 per year in subsequent years.
Related articles: Dry Eye Treatment, Eye Exam, Allergy Testing, Allergy Shots

What should be included:
  • First, the doctor will ask about symptoms and perform a visual exam to try to determine whether the pink eye is viral, bacterial or allergy-related[14] . In some cases, the doctor will take a sample of eye fluid for testing.
  • For viral pink eye, the most common type, the doctor might recommend preservative-free artificial tears, cold compresses and rest. Patients should stay home from school or work, to avoid infecting others, until symptoms begin to clear, usually in a week or two.
  • For bacterial pink eye, the doctor typically will prescribe antibiotic eye drops. Patients should stay home from school or work until symptoms begin to improve, typically in a day or two.
  • For pink eye caused by allergies[15] , a doctor might recommend over-the counter or prescription allergy medicine, antihistamine eye drops, and/or allergy shots.
  • WebMD offers an overview of pink eye[16] and treatment[17] .
Additional costs:
  • When a patient has bacterial or viral pink eye, recommends[18] frequent hand washing and use of antiseptic solutions to clean tables, faucets and other household objects.
  • It is necessary to discard all makeup that may have come into contact with an infected eye, and to purchase new products, to prevent reinfection.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a locator[19] for clinics that provide discounts on an income-based sliding scale.
Shopping for pink eye treatment:
  • A family doctor, pediatrician or eye doctor can diagnose and treat pink eye. The American Medical Association offers a doctor locator[20] , and offers an urgent care center locator[21] . Or, the American Academy of Ophthalmology offers an ophthalmologist locator[22] .
  • According to WebMD[23] , patients who do not use antibiotics recover almost as quickly from bacterial pink eye as those who do.
  • In a guide to managing ocular allergies[24] , the Indiana University School of Optometry notes that topical allergy medications are more effective than oral, and many over-the-counter topical antihistamines are as effective as, and much less expensive than, their prescription counterparts.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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