Pink eye, also referred to as conjunctivitis, is an uncomfortable, irritating condition with symptoms like itching, tearing, inflammation, redness, burning and sensations of a foreign body.
Conjunctivitis is caused by allergies, bacteria or virus. It affects both eyes when it’s caused by a bacterial infection and is accompanied by pus draining from the eyes. In viral infections, it affects one eye first and then goes to the other eye a few days later. The discharge from the eye is much clearer and watery. However, it is still highly contagious in both eyes.
When it is caused by allergies, it would cause similar symptoms, affecting both eyes and causing a watery discharge but it isn’t contagious as in the cases of viral and bacterial infections. It is often triggered like allergens like smoke, pollen, air pollution, makeup, dust mites and eye drops and is common with people who have Hay fever or other allergic diseases.
Home Remedies For Pink Eye
If your pink eye comes with disturbed vision, light sensitivity, pain and other symptoms, or if it doesn’t improve with home treatment, see a doctor at once.
Cold or Warm Compresses
A cold compress is used mostly to ease the swelling and itching caused by the pink eye, especially when its caused by allergies. Warm Compress also soothes the eyes and prevents discharge from drying up on your eyelashes.
To use :
• Soak a clean cloth in cold or hot water and wring out excess water
• Place the cloth on the affected eye
• Let it sit for ten minutes
• Do this three times a day
• If both eyes are affected, it’s safer to use different cloths for each eye and a new water supply.
2. Boric Acid
Boric acid is great for a number of problems like tearing, dryness, redness and a burning sensation due to its mild antifungal and antibacterial properties. It also soothes eye irritation and cleanses the eye.
To use :
• Boil a cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of boric acid
• Use it as an eyewash or apply it to the eyes with a clean washcloth or cotton balls
• Rinse your eyes with Lukewarm water
• Repeat two or three times a day.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV has antimicrobial properties that help fight off infections causing pink eye. Particularly, the malic acid in unpasteurised ACV fights bacterial infections.
To use :
• Mix two teaspoons of organic ACV in a cup of filtered water.
• Dip a cotton ball or clean cloth in the solution
• Close the affected eye and wipe with the cloth and cotton ball
• Repeat every few hours at least for two days
• You could also put a drop of the solution in your eye, but it would most likely sting.
4. Black Tea
Black tea is a great home remedy for pink eye as it contains tannins that help reduce itching and inflammation. It also contains bioflavonoids that help fight bacterial and viral infections.
Place a chilled and moist black tea bag on your eyes for ten minutes. Repeat thrice a day.
This isn’t restricted to just black tea as chamomile and even green tea could be used.
You could also simply use a weak black tea solution as an eye wash.
5. Saline Solution
Saline solution is perhaps the most popular home remedy for Pink Eye as it works as a natural disinfectant.
To use :
• Start by boiling a cup of distilled water mixed with one teaspoon of salt.
• Let it cool and then use as a eyewash, eyecup or dropper.
• Repeat several times a day.
To use :
• Simply dissolve a tablespoon of sea salt in one cup of warm water. Put three drops of this solution in the corner of the affected eye using a clean eyedropper or a cotton ball. Do this two times a day.
Eyebright (also known as Euphrasia officinalis) is a herb that has been used often for Pink Eye and found effective. It has antibacterial and astringent properties.
To use :
• Boil a cup of water and let it cool. Then add five drops of eyebright tincture to it. Use as an eyewash.
• As an alternative, you could instead, boil a teaspoon of eyebright herb in a cup of water for ten minutes. Let it cool, then strain the solution and use as an eyewash.
• You could add rose water and repeat every four hours.
• You could also steep equal parts of chamomile and eyebright in boiling water. Cool the solution, strain and use as an eyewash.
• Combining two drops of eyebright tincture, two tablespoons of rose water and one tablespoon of boiled water to get an effective solution which will be applied in a compress is also a good idea
• You could drink eyebright tea or take the herb in tablet or capsule form.
7. Milk and Honey
Combining milk and honey can soothe as well as treat pink eye naturally. Milk has a soothing effect and calms the inflammation while honey has antimicrobial properties.
To use :
• Heat a tablespoon of whole milk slightly
• Mix in an equal amount of honey and stir till it becomes smooth
• Put three drops of the mixture in the affected eye6(you can use a cotton wool or an eyedropper).
• Do this as much as you can everyday till you notice an improvement.
8. Breast Milk
Even though this is unusual, breast milk has been found to be highly effective in getting rid of pink eye, especially in babies. If you had pink eye when you were younger and your mum or an aunt was a nursing mother who used some of her breast milk on your eyes, then this remedy isn’t new to you.
A lot of doctors agree that breast milk possesses healing properties that help treat minor illnesses, including ear infections and pink eye. They say that it could be as a result of certain antibodies, particularly immunoglobulin E.
9. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has antibiotic and astringent properties that help cure conjunctivitis.
To use :
• Soak chunks of fresh aloe vera gel in a cooled, boiled water till it turns pale green. You could also blend the pieces with water in a blender
• Add a few drops of the mixture in the affected eye, about four times a day. You could also use as an eyewash, too.
• As a warning, don’t use the remedy on children.