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Home Remedies for Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)




Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an irritating and uncomfortable condition with symptoms like redness, itching, inflammation, tearing, and sensations of a foreign body or burning in the eyes. The condition can be caused by bacteria, a virus, or allergies.

Allergic conjunctivitis is likely to cause similar symptoms, affecting both eyes and causing watery discharge, but it is not contagious. It can be triggered by allergens like pollen, smoke, dust mites, air pollution, makeup, or eye drops and is common among people who have hay fever and other allergic diseases.

Here are the top 10 home remedies for pink eye.

1. Cold or Warm Compresses
A cold compress is used mostly to ease the itching and swelling caused by pink eye, especially when caused by allergic conjunctivitis. Warm compresses also soothe the eyes. They also prevent the discharge from your eyes from drying on your eyelashes.

  • Soak a clean cloth in hot or cold water and wring it out.
  • Place the cloth on the affected eye.
  • Leave it on for five to 10 minutes.
  • Repeat the process three or four times a day.

Do not place the same cloth on both the eyes, especially if only one eye is infected.

2. Boric Acid
Boric acid is excellent for a number of eye problems like redness, dryness, a burning sensation, and tearing due to its mild antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also soothes eye irritation and cleanses the eyes.

  • Boil a cup of water mixed with one teaspoon of boric acid (available as white powder or colorless crystals).
  • Use it as an eyewash or apply it to the eye with a clean washcloth or cotton balls.
  • Rinse your eyes with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat two or three times a day.

3. Calendula
Calendula is an herb with antiviral and antibacterial properties that help fight infection and heal conjunctivitis. Moreover, being an anti-inflammatory, it soothes eye discomfort and irritation.

  • Steep two teaspoons of dried calendula flowers in a cup of hot water.
  • Allow it to cool and then strain the solution through a cheesecloth or a clean paper coffee filter.
  • Use the mixture as an eyewash several times throughout the day.

You can also dip a washcloth in this herbal mixture while it is still hot and use it as hot compress.

4. Black Tea
Black tea is a great home remedy for pink eye because it contains tannins that help reduce itching and inflammation. Also, the bioflavonoids present in black tea combat viral and bacterial infections.

  • Place cooled, moist black teabags on your eyes for about 10 minutes. Do this three or four times a day, every few hours. You can also use green tea or chamomile tea bags.
  • You can also use a weak solution of black tea as an eyewash.

5. Saline Solution
This is perhaps the most popular home remedy for conjunctivitis as it works as a natural disinfectant.

  • Boil a cup of distilled water mixed with one-half to one teaspoon of salt.
  • Allow it to cool and then use it as an eyewash, using an eyecup or dropper.
  • Repeat the process several times a day.

Sea salt is also considered good for treating pink eye. Dissolve one tablespoon of sea salt in a cup of warm water. Put two or three drops of this solution in the corner of the affected eye using an eyedropper or cotton ball. Do this twice a day.

6. Eyebright
Eyebright (also known as Euphrasia officinalis) is another effective herb for eye problems, including pink eye, sties, bloodshot and strained eyes, and weeping eyes. It has astringent and antibacterial properties.

  • Boil a cup of water and allow it to cool. Add five drops of eyebright tincture to it. Use it as an eyewash, preferably in an eyecup.
  • Alternatively, boil one teaspoon of eyebright herb in a cup of water for about 10 minutes. Allow it to cool. Then, strain the solution and use it as an eyewash. You may also add rose water. Repeat the process every four hours.
  • You may also steep equal parts of eyebright and chamomile in boiling water. Cool the solution, strain it, and use it as an eyewash.
  • A combination of two drops of eyebright tincture, one tablespoon of boiled water (lukewarm), and two tablespoons of rose water can be applied in a compress.
  • Drink eyebright tea or take this herb in capsule or tablet form.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties that help fight an infection causing pink eye. Particularly, the malic acid in unpasteurized apple cider vinegar fights bacterial infections.

  • Mix two teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar in a cup of filtered water.
  • Dip a cotton ball or a clean cloth in the solution.
  • Close the affected eye and wipe it with the cotton ball or cloth.
  • Do this every few hours for two to three days.

You may also put a drop of this mixture in the eye, but it is likely to sting.

8. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has astringent and antibiotic properties that help cure conjunctivitis.

  • Soak chunks of fresh aloe vera gel (peeled from the leaves) in a cup of cooled, boiled water until it turns pale green. You can also blend the pieces with water in a blender.
  • Put a few drops of this mixture in the affected eye, three or four times a day. You can use it as an eyewash, too.

Warning : Do not use this remedy on children.

9. Breast Milk
Though unusual, this remedy is considered highly effective in getting rid of pink eye, especially in babies. Many doctors agree that breast milk has healing properties that help treat minor illnesses, including pink eye and ear infections, possibly because it contains certain antibodies, particularly immunoglobulin E.

  • Put a few drops of breast milk in the affected eye.
  • Repeat as needed.

10. Milk and Honey
A combination of warm milk and honey can soothe and treat pink eye naturally. Milk has a soothing effect and calms the inflammation, and honey has antimicrobial properties.

  • Slightly heat one tablespoon of whole milk.
  • Mix in an equal amount of organic honey, stirring until it becomes smooth.
  • Put two or three drops of this mixture in the affected eye using an eyedropper. (It is likely to sting.)
  • Do this several times a day.

You can use it in a warm compress as well.
If your pink eye is accompanied by severe symptoms such as pain, disturbed vision, sensitivity to light, or other symptoms, or it does not improve with home treatment, consult your doctor.

Diet for Conjunctivitis

Your diet has little to do with a conjunctivitis infection so there is little that you can do to treat it by means of dietary modifications. Nutritional intake is however an important determinant of your eye health, which is why it is important to follow a well balanced and nutritious diet. Take particular care to include foods that are rich in nutrients that are essential for your eye health such as vitamin A. Fresh fruits are not just great sources of vitamin A, but will also provide you with other essential nutrients like the B group of vitamins. Foods rich in vitamin A are pumpkin, green leafy vegetables yoghurt, butter, tomatoes, papaya and of course, carrots. If the conjunctivitis is of the infectious type, caused by a bacterial or viral infection your immune system plays an important role in the treatment and recovery process. A weakened immune system will delay recovery and also leave you vulnerable to future infections and recurrences. Include plenty of citric fruits in your diet for a high intake of vitamin C to boost immunity.


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