Pink Eye Home Remedies

This page on pink eye home remedies describes the condition (conjunctivitis), symptoms, and home cures for pink eye.

What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye (called Conjunctivitis) is an acute inflammation of the conjunctiva (the outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids). This area is usually clear but pink eye causes it to become red and often swollen. Pink eye is typically caused by a viral infection, but can also form because of a bacterial infection or allergies. In rare cases, it can occur from STD's (sexually transmitted diseases).

Pink Eye Picture

Symptoms of Pink Eye

  • Redness and swelling in the eye area.
  • Drainage of mucus-like fluid from the eye - usually sticky and yellowish in color.
  • Itching.

What to do if you've been diagnosed with Pink Eye

  • If you wear contacts, stop. Remove them and wear glasses until symptoms are completely gone. Anything that comes in contact with your eyes should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent possible spreading of the virus/bacteria.
  • Pink eye is often highly contagious. Be careful to wash hands regularly and not re-use anything that touches eye area (tissues, wash cloths, etc.).
  • Change pillow cases frequently and anything else that comes in contact with your eyes daily during symptoms.
  • When cleaning your eye, wipe from the inside (next to the nose) toward the outside.
  • Avoid contact with others (stay home from school or work until all symptoms of pink eye are gone.
    • If the cause is a viral infection, improvement is usually seen in 3 to 5 days. Since medicines are not usually adminestered for this type of pink eye, it's really important you prevent it from spreading.
    • If the cause is a bacterial infection, improvement can be seen after just 24 hours if treated with antibiotics, which kills the bacteria.
    • As always, use medicines as directed by your physician. If using eye drops, be careful not to let the dropper come in direct contact with your eye.
  • Try one of the pink eye home remedies below.

Pink Eye Home Remedies
Treating pink eye at home can reduce your pain and keep the eye(s) free of drainage. Note that if pink eye can sometimes be related to allergies. In this case, antihistamines may help relieve your symptoms.

  • Use a cold or warm compress (depending on which feels better to you). Make sure to use a different compress for each eye, and use a clean compress for each application.
  • Put one drop of castor oil in the eye 3 times a day.
  • Grate raw potato and place the slice on the affected eye. Potato is an astringent and helps to reduce inflammation. Leave on for about 20 minutes for at least 3 consecutive nights.
  • Calendula, an antiseptic perfect for irritation due to pollutants and allergies, can help reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Add a few drops of Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) tincture to boiled water. Let cool and apply to infected eye with cotton balls.
  • Different eye washes can help to clean the infected area. Try any of these as an eye wash (splash directly onto eyes or use cotton ball to apply):
    • Lukewarm milk.
    • Elderberry blossom tea.
    • Baking soda. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 2 cups of water.
    • Aloe vera. Use aloe vera juice as an eye wash or soak a wash cloth in the aloe vera juice and use it as a compress on the eye area.
    • Honey. Combine 3 tablespoons of honey in 2 cups of boiling water, stir to dissolve. Let cool and use 3 times a day. Honey carries antibacterial properties and will help to soothe the infected area.
    • Tea made from powdered root bark of barberry (contains berberine, which is an antibacterial compound) in one cup of water. Boil the solution for 30 minutes, let sit until warm (not hot), then use as eye wash.
    • Boric acid. Combine 1 tablespoon of boric acid and 1 quart of boiling water. Let cool and use 3 times a day. Rinse thoroughly.

If you frequently get pink eye, there are herbal supplements available to help naturally support the eye. Ingredients such as Rooibos, Kankerbossie and Bilberry all have studies which support their contribution to eye health. All three ingredients are combined in products such as . See the manufacturers website for more on each ingredient and the supporting studies.

When to see a Doctor

  • Decreased or blurred vision develops and it doesn't clear with blinking.
  • Eye pain continues or increases.
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia) develops.
  • Signs of an infection develop.
  • Symptoms become more severe or frequent.

Herbal Remedies by Andrew Chevallier (2007)
Herbal Medicine Trends and Traditions by Charles W. Kane (2009)
WebMD.com: pink eye home remedies

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