In this article, we will be discussing the remedies to cure pink eye, but first, let’s get to know about pink eye. The term is usually referred to describe a condition where the white part of the eye appears pink or red. There are many causes that lead to pink eye, but the most common among all is Conjunctivitis. The inflammation of the conjunctiva, that is the layer of the tissue that overlays the white part of the eye. Viral, bacterial infections and allergies are the two most common causes of conjunctivitis.
There are three cases of pink eye:
Viral Pink Eye– It is a common, self-limited condition, that is typically caused by adeno virus. There are other viruses that may be responsible for causing infection such as HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus), varicella zoster virus (VZV), Picorna Virus, Pox Virus, and HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus). It is highly contagious especially during the initial stage, i.e. 10-12 days as long as the redness is retained.
Bacterial Pink Eye– A common type of infection caused due to bacteria that infects the eye through various sources of contamination. It is contagious in nature. Exposure to a contaminated surface, an ear infection or sinus and direct contact with the infected individual, are a few causes of a bacterial pink eye. Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, influenza, haemophilus are the most common types of bacteria that cause infection.
Allergic Pink Eye– Exposure of the eye to contaminated substances like pollen or mold spores, sometimes result to pink eye. This makes the eye watery and itchy. The infection is caused by the allergic reaction of these substances. The inside lining of our eye called conjunctiva is susceptible to irritation from hay fever seasons or allergens. This is why these substances are harmful and should not come in direct contact with the eye.
Causes of Pink Eye
The most common cause of infectious conjunctivitis is the virus that is associated with the common cold. Bacteria, parasites, and fungi are also a few causes of infectious conjunctivitis.
Allergic conjunctivitis can be caused due to the eyes response to allergens present in the atmosphere or in the products (medications or cosmetics) that is directly applied to the eye or near them. Several other conditions that cause pink eye include dry eye and foreign bodies. Vision-threatening conditions like elevated eye pressure and autoimmune disorders are also among the causes.
Some of the serious and potential causes of the pink eye include Uveitis. It is an inflammation inside the eye due to autoimmune disorders, compromised blood supply in the eye (Ischemia) and elevated eye pressure etc.
In some cases, blepharitis or a sty is also a cause. Where you need professional help, as in such cases only a doctor can diagnose the cause and prescribe proper medications. Overuse of various medications and eye drops can also cause pink eye, but cures on its own when the effect of medications wears off.
In the case of newborn and infants, the cause of pink eye is bacterial infection that requires immediate treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of Pink Eye
Viral Pink Eye:
- Light sensitivity (corneal involvement)
Bacterial Pink Eye:
- Red, itchy, watery eyes
- Burning sensation
- Puffy eyes in the morning
- Greenish yellow discharge
- Starts from one eye and infects the other
Allergic Pink Eye:
- Clear watery drainage
- Involves both the eyes
- Itchy and painful eyes
Home Remedies to Cure Pink Eye
1.) Honey Fights Blepharitis
Honey provides relief from blepharitis that is a chronic bacterial infection in the eyelid. Various studies have affirmed the effective results of honey for numerous infections and diseases. Manuka honey is considered the best among all other available variants because it is a rich source of dihydroxyacetone.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of raw honey with the same quantity of reverse osmosis or distilled water, i.e. the water that has been boiled for 5 minutes and then cooled down.
- Add a pinch of sea salt to this solution.
- Use this as an eye drop by placing 1-2 drops in each of the eyes.
- Repeat this hourly throughout the day to get better results.
2.) Castor Oil: An Overnight Cure
Castor oil is the best remedy to cure pink eye and can even treat the infection overnight if diagnosed at an early stage.
- Spread castor oil properly over the upper and lower eyelid. Let it seep into the eye and work to eliminate the infection.
- Apply the castor oil pack to the inflamed eye in every 20 minutes to soothe the inflammation and irritation in the eye.
Castor Oil Pack Preparation
- Cut a piece of small cloth and make four folds. It should be big enough to cover the eye from all sides after the folds.
- Soak the cloth fully into castor oil and place it on the infected eye.
- Now, apply a hot compress over the cloth. You can buy a hot compress from the market, which is a better option.
- Repeat this procedure thrice a day so that the pack is placed on the eye for at least an hour a day.
3.) Breast Milk to Cure Pink Eye
Breast milk contains antibodies called immunoglobulin A that prevents the infection causing bacteria. This doesn’t let the bacteria to attach its roots to the mucosal surface of the eye, which limits the growth of the bacteria and cure pink eye.
- Take a few drops of breast milk and place onto the surface of the eye.
- Lift your eyelid with your finger, letting the milk circulate underneath.
- Repeat this remedy thrice a day for a couple of days to cure Pink eye.
4.) The Herbal Tea Remedy
Calendula, fennel or chamomile tea or various eye bright teas can be taken orally or used as a hot compress. Eyebright is also available as capsules at various drug stores. Intake of these teas and capsules is good for the eye and to cure infections. The tea can also be used as an eye wash.
- Soak a tea bag in water and press it over the infected eye.
- Let it be there for 4-5 minutes.
- Repeat this remedy twice or thrice daily to ease irritation and inflammation caused due to infection.
- Soak a tea bag in a cup of lukewarm water and let it cool down.
- Now use it as an eye wash for the infected eye.
Note-Use only distilled water for direct application to the eye as any impurity can exaggerate the infection.
- You can also have a cup of tea if you really like the taste or can tolerate it as a medicine.
Chamomile Tea Recipe
- Rinse the flowers with cold water and put them in a pot of boiling water.
- Add a few freshly cut apple slices and mash them using a wooden spoon. Cover and simmer the gas for about 3-5 minutes, then strain and serve. You can also add honey as an extra sweetener.
- Calendula tea can be prepared from your regular tea recipe as tea bags or tea petals are available at the stores.
Note- Avoid intake of Chamomile or Calendula if you are allergic to ragweed either pregnant or a nursing mother.
5.) Colloidal Silver Helps to Cure Pink Eye
Colloidal Silver has silver particles suspended in water. When it comes in contact with the infected eye, helps in fighting the bacteria. It is also considered a bit less irritating to the eye than other eye drops.
- Put 1-2 drops of 5-10 ppm (i.e. Concentration level) colloidal silver, in each of the eye, 3-4 times a day.
- Repeat until the infection is cured.
6.) Salt Water Wash to Cure Pink Eye
Sterile Salt water can be used to cure pink eye and is an effective remedy. It helps to get relief from inflammation and irritation caused due to infection.
- Add 2-3 teaspoons of common salt to a pot of boiling water.
- Let it cool down and strain for any particles to eliminate from the water.
- Now use it as an eye wash twice or thrice a day.
- Only distilled water should be used
7.) Raw Potatoes Soothe Inflammation
Potatoes have natural astringent that works effectively to cure pink eye.
- Cut fresh slices of raw potato and place it on the infected eye.
- Leave it for at least 20 minutes. Repeat the procedure for a minimum of 3 days to get better results.
8.) Turmeric as an Antibiotic
Turmeric has antibiotic properties that help to cure pink eye by fighting infection.
- Add 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder to a cup of lukewarm water.
- Soak a cotton swab in the solution and apply as a hot compress to the eye.
- Repeat this method twice or thrice a day to cure the infection.
9.) Baking Soda Eye Wash
It is helpful in giving a soothing effect to the eye.
- Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a cup of water and use it as an eye wash.
- Repeat the remedy twice or thrice a day.
10.) Aloe Vera Treats Infection
Aloe vera is a proven remedy to cure infections as it has many medicinal properties. It also acts as a coolant and provides a soothing effect to inflammation and itching in the eye.
- Scoop out a spoon of aloe vera gel from the leaf and soak a cotton swab in it.
- Place it on the infected eye and let it be there for at least 3-4 minutes.
- Repeat this remedy for a couple of days until the infection is cured.
11.) Yogurt Cures Itching
Yogurt has coolant properties. It is helpful in treating inflammation and redness in the eye caused due to infection.
- Apply a few drops of yogurt as a poultice on the infected eye.
- Repeat this remedy as required.
12.) Cold Bread Remedy
Place a cold bread slice on the affected eye, this will help to soothe itching and inflammation caused due to infection of the pink eye.
Apart from all the home remedies, it is better to visit a doctor and take professional help because a doctor will diagnose the cause and prescribe medication to cure the infection. If the condition is not that severe you can definitely try the following home remedies.