Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a common eye infection caused by viruses, bacteria, allergens, or irritants. It is characterized by redness, itching, and discharge from the eyes and can be highly contagious. While pink eye usually resolves on its own within a week or two, there are steps you can take to help alleviate symptoms and speed up the healing process. This article will discuss 10 best natural remedies to get rid of pink eye and when to seek medical attention.
Different Types of Conjunctivitis(Pink Eye)
The duration of pink eye can vary depending on the underlying cause, but most cases typically resolve within 7 to 10 days. There are several different types of conjunctivitis, including:
- Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type of conjunctivitis, caused by a virus such as the common cold virus or herpes simplex virus. It is highly contagious and can spread easily through contact with an infected person or their secretions. Viral conjunctivitis usually resolves on its own within 1 to 2 weeks.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis: This type of conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is also highly contagious and can spread through contact with an infected person or their secretions. Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotics and can clear up within a few days to a week.
- Allergic conjunctivitis: This type of conjunctivitis is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen, dust, pet dander, or other allergens. It can also be caused by contact with irritants such as smoke or chemicals. Allergic conjunctivitis can last as long as the allergen is present, but symptoms can often be managed with antihistamines and other medications.
- Chemical conjunctivitis: This type of conjunctivitis is caused by exposure to irritants such as chlorine, smoke, or other chemicals. It can also be caused by exposure to certain medications, including eye drops or ointments.
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis: This type of conjunctivitis is a chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva, often caused by a foreign body, such as a contact lens. It can also be caused by an allergy to contact lens solution or other materials.
How to get rid of Pink Eye Naturally
While medical treatment is essential for some cases of Pink Eye, several home remedies can help alleviate symptoms and speed up the healing process. These remedies include:
1. Warm compress
A warm compress is a simple and effective home remedy for pink eye. It helps to reduce inflammation, relieve discomfort, and promote healing. (Source)
The warm compress helps to improve blood flow to the affected area, which can help to reduce swelling and relieve pain. It also helps to loosen any crusts or discharge that may be present in the eye.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water to reduce the spread of infection.
- Soak a clean washcloth or a cotton ball in warm water.
- Squeeze out the excess water and place the warm compress over the affected eye for about 10 minutes or until the cloth cools.
- Repeat the process with a new clean cloth or cotton ball for each eye up to 3 times a day.
- Discard the cloth or cotton ball after each use, and do not reuse it.
- Wash your hands again with warm water and soap once you finish the compress.
It is essential to use a clean cloth for each application to prevent the spread of infection. Additionally, avoid using hot water, as this can cause further irritation to the eye.
2. Cold compress
A cold compress is another simple and effective home remedy for pink eye. It can help to relieve itching, irritation, and swelling in the affected eye.
The cold temperature of the compress helps to reduce inflammation and numb the affected area, providing relief from symptoms. It also helps to constrict blood vessels, which can reduce redness in the eye.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Make a cold compress by soaking a clean, soft cloth in cool water.
- Squeeze the excess water from the cloth and place it over your closed eyes for 10–15 minutes.
- Repeat the cold compress a few times throughout the day for the best results.
- Make sure to use a new, clean cloth for each compress.
- Avoid sharing towels or clothes with other people.
- Use a clean cloth or a gel pack wrapped in a cloth to prevent direct contact with the skin.
3. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is a natural remedy that can be used to treat pink eye due to its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. It contains antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can help to fight off infection.
Aloe vera can also help to reduce inflammation and redness in the eye. In addition, it can also provide relief from itching and burning sensations.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Mix one part Aloe vera gel with one part boiled or distilled water.
- Dip a cotton ball or gauze pad into the mixture.
- Squeeze out the excess liquid and apply the mixture to the affected eye.
- Leave the mixture on the eye for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rinse the affected eye with distilled or boiled water.
- Repeat this process 3 to 4 times daily until the pink eye symptoms have subsided.
It is essential to use a fresh aloe vera leaf and a clean cotton ball or swab for each application to prevent the spread of infection.
4. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is a natural remedy that can be used to treat pink eye due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
It helps reduce inflammation, redness, and swelling in the eye and can relieve itching and burning sensations. The tea’s antibacterial properties can also help to fight off any infection that may be present.
- Boil a cup of water and steep one chamomile tea bag for 5 minutes.
- Let the tea cool to room temperature.
- Dip a cotton ball in the tea and squeeze it so that it’s damp but not dripping.
- Apply the tea-soaked cotton ball to the affected eye and keep it there for a few minutes.
- Repeat the same process with a fresh cotton ball for the other eye.
It is essential to use a fresh cup of chamomile tea and a clean cotton ball for each application to prevent the spread of infection.
5. Cucumber slices
Cucumber slices are a simple and effective home remedy for pink eye. The coolness and moisture of the cucumber can help to soothe and relieve symptoms of pink eye, such as itching, irritation, and swelling.
Cucumber slices help to reduce inflammation and provide a cooling effect, which can help to relieve discomfort and itching. Additionally, they contain antioxidants that can help to boost the immune system and promote healing.
- Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them thoroughly.
- Cut a fresh cucumber into thin slices.
- Place the cucumber slices over your closed eyelids for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse your eyes with cool, clean water.
- Repeat this process three to four times a day until the symptoms of the pink eye have subsided.
- Discard the cucumber slices after each use and don’t reuse them, as this could spread bacteria.
Honey is a natural remedy that can be used to treat pink eye due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Honey helps reduce inflammation, redness, and swelling in the eye and can relieve itching and burning sensations. Its antibacterial properties can also help to fight off any infection that may be present.
- Boil 1 cup of water and add one tablespoon of honey to it.
- Allow the mixture to cool down.
- Dip a cotton ball in the honey and water mixture and apply it to your closed eyes for a few minutes.
- Discard the used cotton ball and repeat the process with a fresh one.
- Repeat the process 2-3 times daily until the pink eye symptoms subside.
In addition to the honey and water mixture, you can make a mixture of 1 teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of warm water and drink it twice daily. This can help reduce the inflammation, irritation, and redness of the eye.
7. Saline solution
Saline solution is a simple and effective home remedy for pink eye. It is a natural disinfectant that can help to cleanse the eye.
Saline solution can also help flush out any irritants or bacteria in the eye while providing a soothing and hydrating effect. It is a safe and gentle remedy that can be used for both adults and children.
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after administering the saline solution.
- Fill a clean container with saline solution. It’s essential to use a sterile solution to avoid further infection.
- Tilt your head back and pull down your lower eyelid. Squeeze one or two drops of the saline solution into the lower eyelid.
- Close your eye and gently massage your eyelids. This helps the solution spread evenly over the eye.
- Open your eye and wipe away any excess solution with a clean tissue.
- Repeat with the other eye if necessary.
8. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a natural remedy that may be effective in treating pink eye. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it a potential option for reducing inflammation, redness, and swelling in the eye, as well as fighting off any bacterial or viral infection that may be present.
- Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in 1/4 cup warm water.
- Using a cotton swab, apply the diluted tea tree oil to the affected eye area.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it with clean water.
- Repeat this process three times daily for a few days or until the infection clears.
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agent that may effectively treat pink eye. It contains a compound called curcumin that has been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can help to fight off any infection that may be causing pink eye.
- Create a turmeric paste by mixing one teaspoon of turmeric powder with one tablespoon of water.
- Soak a cotton ball in the turmeric paste.
- Place the cotton ball over the affected eye and leave it there for a few minutes.
- Rinse the eye with clean, cool water.
- Repeat the process two to three times a day for a few days until the pink eye clears up.
Turmeric can help to reduce inflammation and redness in the eye. It also promotes healing and prevents the spread of infection. However, it is essential to use caution when using turmeric, as it can stain clothing and other surfaces.
Yogurt is a common food that contains beneficial probiotics, which can help to boost the immune system and fight off bacterial infections that may cause pink eye.
The probiotics found in yogurt can also help restore the balance of good bacteria in the body, reducing inflammation and irritation of the eyes.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Place a few tablespoons of plain yogurt in a clean container.
- Dip a cotton ball into the yogurt and apply it to the affected eye.
- Leave the yogurt on for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse off the yogurt with clean, lukewarm water.
- Repeat this process thrice daily until the pink eye symptoms have subsided.
Bacterial and Viral Pink Eye Home Remedies
Viral conjunctivitis usually lasts one to two weeks, while bacterial conjunctivitis can last up to two weeks or longer.
Bacterial pink eye often produces more mucus or pus than viral or allergic pink eye. Bacterial pink eye can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. In the meantime, you can alleviate the symptoms of the bacterial or viral pink eye with these simple home remedies:
- Take Over-The-Counter Pain Killers: Ibuprofen or another pain killer can help reduce the discomfort associated with pink eye.
- Use Lubricating Eye Drops: Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears, can help alleviate dryness and irritation in the eyes.
- Apply a Warm Compress: A warm, damp washcloth over your eyes for several minutes can help reduce swelling and inflammation. To make a warm compress, soak a clean washcloth in warm water and wring it out before placing it over your eyes.
- Repeat this several times a day or as often as necessary. Be sure to use a clean washcloth each time and avoid sharing it with others to prevent the spreading of the infection.
- If your eyelids are sticking together, you can use a warm washcloth to loosen the dried mucus and help you open your eyes more easily.
Allergic Pink Eye Home Remedies
Allergic pink eye, on the other hand, is caused by an allergic reaction and will continue as long as you are in contact with the allergen. Allergic conjunctivitis may last as long as the allergen is present or as long as the individual continues to be exposed to the allergen.
While allergic pink eye is not contagious, it can be quite uncomfortable. Fortunately, some home remedies can help alleviate the symptoms:
- Take Allergy Medicine: Over-the-counter allergy medicine or eye drops can help reduce the inflammation and irritation of the allergic pink eye.
- Apply a Cool Compress: Applying a cool, damp washcloth over your eyes can help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort.
- Use Lubricating Eye Drops: Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears, can help relieve dryness and irritation in the eyes.
How to prevent pink eye and avoid spreading it?
Following these tips can reduce your risk of developing pink eye and keep your eyes healthy.
- Wash your hands often: Make sure to frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before and after handling food, and after touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid touching your eyes: Try your best to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as this can spread the virus.
- Disinfect surfaces: Clean and disinfect surfaces that may have been contaminated with the virus. This includes countertops, doorknobs, toys, and other surfaces.
- Avoid sharing items: Don’t share items such as towels, pillows, and makeup with others.
- Wear glasses instead of contacts: If you wear contacts, switch to glasses until your pink eye clears up.
- Avoid close contact: Avoid close contact with people with pink eye.
- Change your pillowcase: Wash it frequently and change it every few days.
- Throw away makeup: Discard any eye makeup you used when you got pink eye.
When to see a doctor?
It is essential to see a healthcare provider if you experience any of the following symptoms of pink eye:
- Severe pain in the eye
- Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
- Intense redness in the eye
- Eye discharge that is yellow, green, or thick in consistency
- A feeling of something stuck in your eye
- Symptoms that persist or worsen after a few days of home treatment
- If you have a weakened immune system or other medical conditions
- If you have been in contact with someone who has pink eye