One of the most common eye infections is pink eye.
You can get it by touching your eyes with your hands, sharing towels, and even by swimming at a swimming pool.
And if pink eye is something you hate to see when you look at the mirror, I’ve got some home remedies for pink eye that I have personally tried.
Before we go to the home remedies for pink eye, let’s make a difference between viral, bacterial and allergic pink eye.
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Symptoms of pink eye
Generally speaking, you will easily know when you have pink eye. You will have troubles closing or opening your eye. A straightforward eye examination test can help you diagnose pink eye.
In some cases, doctors will take a small sample of the eye discharge to determine the type of bacteria or virus causing the infection.
The symptoms are the following:
- Tenderness of the eye
- Itchiness of the eye
- Body aches
- Discomfort in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Redness of the eye or inner eyelids
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Discharge and teariness
- Discharge causing the eyelids to crust and stick together while sleeping
- The infection starts with one eye, but can easily spread to the other eye
Conjunctivitis in babies and children
Newborns, babies, and little children are very susceptible to pink eye. This is even truer if the mother had or has an STD. Bacteria or virus can easily pass through the birth canal into the baby’s eyes, and result in pink eye.
Some babies are also born with very small tear duct, which can become blocked and lead to conjunctivitis, or pink eye. Pregnant women should always be screened for bacteria-laden STD’s to ensure their baby is born without pink eye, and prevent any other health problems.
School-aged children are also more prone to pink eye, simply because they are in constant interaction with other children. The lack of proper hygiene knowledge among children is the reason why they often get infection.
Another reason for more cases of pink eye among children is their frequent allergic reactions to substances such as ragweed, grass, animal dander, and pollen. While our kids are little, we rarely know all of the allergens they are allergic to. As we grow older, we determine our allergens.
Difference Between Viral, Bacterial, and Allergic Pink Eye
The most common pink eye is viral, often marked with clear, watery drainage.
It is contagious, and often starts in one eye and then moves to the other.
In most cases with a viral pink eye, there is no specific treatment, and you need to let the virus run its course.
You can, however, soothe the pain and suffering with home remedies for pink eye.
You might also experience cold-like symptoms.
Bacterial pink eye is marked with greenish and yellow drainage, and it is also contagious.
The difference it can be treated with antibiotic, but why when you can use home remedies for pink eye.
Swelling, itching and painful eyes are symptoms that accompany bacterial pink eye.
Last, but not least, allergic pink eye can happen due to the allergic reaction to cosmetics, perfume, pollens and much more.
The watery drainage is typical here and clear, and it happens in both eyes at the same time.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the home remedies for pink eye I have tested over the years.
Home Remedies for Pink Eye
One of the best natural remedies you have in your kitchen is honey.
This magical ingredient can do wonders for your health prevention, but also help you when in need of a quick fix.
Honey helps by reducing the number of bacteria in your eye.
One way to use it is with pure water and a pinch of salt.
You need a quarter of a cup of pure water and a quarter of a teaspoon of raw honey with just little salt.
Dissolve honey in warm water, but make sure it is not extremely hot.
If you do not have pure water, you can boil it and then wait for it to cool down before dissolving the honey.
With a clean dropper, place up to two drops in each eye.
You can do this three times per day.
2. Honey and Milk
Another remedy with honey, this one sounds like a soothing bedtime drink.
However, it is not. When I tried this remedy, I was certain that my pink eye is from an allergic reaction, and I really liked to soothe the pain.
For the home remedy for pink eye, I used one tablespoon of raw milk and 1 tablespoon of raw honey.
I stirred the two ingredients together, and then put 2-3 drops in each eye with a sterilized dropper.
You can put the rest of the solution to the refrigerator, and use it in the next two-three days until the symptoms completely disappear.
3. Salt Water
Even store brands have started selling salt water drops.
You can also prepare the solution at home by using one cup of distilled water and half a teaspoon of salt.
Boil the water, and then add the salt.
Wait for the solution to cool down, and then with an eyedropper drop two to three drops in each eye. You can also use the solution as an eye rinse.
4. Raw Potatoes
While it might sounds preposterous and funny to put potatoes on your eyes, think of it like a beauty treatment.
After all, you’ve probably seen a movie in which the women have cucumber slices on their eyes.
Well, fresh, raw and cold potato slices are also a beauty treatment, but in this case, for pink eyes.
One of the best ways to soothe pink eye is to make a compress.
What you need is a lint-free cloth, dipped in water.
Apply it gently to your eyes. Just make sure your eyelids are closed. Apply the compress for few minutes several times in the day.
Usually, cool water is the most soothing remedy, but it doesn’t work, you have four other home remedies for pink eyes that you can try.
One thing to note, if only one of your eyes is affected, do not touch both eyes with the cloth.
6. Breast Milk
There is one particular antibody in the breast milk which can prevent the pink eye bacteria from attaching to the mucosal surface of the eye. This antibody is called immunoglobulin A, and limits the growth of the bacteria.
Of course, this works only if your pink eye is caused by bacterial infection. If caused by viral infection, breast milk won’t help, which is why you see some people saying that despite applying breast milk, pink eye stayed there.
To use breast milk, get a clean spoon, and place few drops onto the surface of the eye. Lift your eyelid slightly to help the breast milk circulate underneath. Repeat the treatment three times per day, for a few day period. Or, until the infection has cleared.
7. Colloidal Silver
Silver nitrate drops were routinely used in newborns for years to prevent certain types of bacterial infection. As with breast milk, colloidal silver only works for bacterial infection. In some hospitals, silver solutions are still used on newborns.
Silver nitrate is different than colloidal silver. The former is created by combining silver with nitric acid, while the latter contains only silver particles suspended in water. Therefore, colloidal silver is considered more safe and less irritating.
The best way to use it is to use 1-2 drops of 5-10ppm colloidal silver in each eye three to four times per day.
8. Herbal teas
Herbal teas can be used to make hot compresses that you later apply on your pink eye. Herbal teas help with irritation and inflammation, solving the root of the pink eye problem.
If you are allergic to ragweed, do not use chamomile or calendula tea. Some people even say add a pinch of salt to boost the astringent quality of the solution. Use distilled water to brew tea to prevent any impurities in tap water that can worsen the infection.
9. Black and green tea
Black and green tea are praised for their richness in antioxidants and flavonoids. These compounds help with bacterial and viral infections anywhere in the body, and reduce inflammation in the process. If you want to use black or green tea as home remedy for pink eye, soak a couple of tea bags in water. Apply the bags on your eye, and then relax for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags, and wash your face afterwards.
Cucumber is one of the most common natural remedies for skin infections, and any other infection. It can be used effectively to treat eye irritation and eye inflammation.
Just cut two slices of cucumber, and then place them in cold water for 10 minutes. Close your eyelids, and place the cucumbers on the eyelids.
SEE ALSO: Essential Oils for Pink Eye
What can you do in the meantime?
It is important to know that while you are using home remedies for pink eye, you prevent the infection from spreading. To do that, follow these prevention tips:
- Stop using contact lenses until the infection is gone
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly to prevent a chance of infection other people or worsening the symptoms
- Do not share towels with other people
Should You See a Doctor?
In most cases, home remedies for pink eye is all you need.
Sometimes, the symptoms get better even without any treatment.
However, there are cases when pink eye is a severe condition and needs to be checked by a certified physician.
When should you see a doctor?
If you experience any of the following symptoms, it might be smarter to avoid home remedies for pink eye and check with your physician: moderate to severe pain in the eye, intense redness, weakened immune system, blurred vision, symptom that do not improve, increased sensitivity to light.