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Home Remedies for Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

There are numerous ways to ease the associative symptoms of conjunctivitis, or pink eye, with home remedies. Effective treatments depend on the type of pink eye that you have. Cold compresses, saline rinses, aloe vera gel, rosewater and turmeric are five remedies that treat the symptoms, some which can last for days.

young girl with pink eye

Types of Conjunctivitis

Before looking at the different home treatments used to remedy pink eye, it’s important to first understand the different types of conjunctivitis. This is mainly because not all conjunctivitis is treatable at home. Understanding the type you have will give you the best chance to combat the condition.

There are three main types of pink eye:

  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis
  • Viral conjunctivitis 

Allergic Conjunctivitis 

Allergic conjunctivitis is a common yet non-contagious form of pink eye. This type of conjunctivitis is usually triggered by allergens like pollen, dust mites, and animal dander. Allergic conjunctivitis symptoms include redness and itchy eyes.

Depending on the trigger allergens, the condition can be present all year round or in specific seasons. Avoiding the trigger allergens is the most effective preventive measure against this type of pink eye.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Unlike the previous type, bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Bacterial conjunctivitis is characterized by a thick white, green, or yellow discharge from the affected eye. While the condition will likely clear up on its own in a week or two, antibiotic eye drops can help relieve any discomfort.

Viral Conjunctivitis

Viral conjunctivitis is what most people refer to as pink eye. It is caused by an adenovirus and is highly contagious. While it can appear on its own, it may also accompany upper respiratory infections like a cold and flu. Medicated pink eye drops may be used to remedy the symptoms, although they will likely clear up after a while.

Other less common types of conjunctivitis include:

  • Chemical conjunctivitis
  • Neonatal conjunctivitis
  • Giant papillary conjunctivitis

How to Get Rid of Pink Eye Fast

In most cases, you are better off waiting for a few days to see if the pink eye will clear on its own. You can opt to see a doctor if you’re in pain or discomfort. You can also seek medical intervention if the symptoms persist or if you have other accompanying symptoms.

Visiting a doctor could lessen the time conjunctivitis takes to clear up. Essentially, the doctor will prescribe eye drops relevant to the specific condition. However, if you don’t want to go to the doctor for conjunctivitis, there are several home remedies you can use to achieve similar results.

Home Remedies for Allergic and Viral Conjunctivitis

Allergic and viral conjunctivitis are the easiest to treat at home. While you should definitely see a doctor if the condition persists, there’s what you can do to alleviate the symptoms and enables the eye to recover faster.

Admittedly, many of these home remedies are anecdotal. And while numerous people have recorded feeling better when using these methods, you can reach out to a professional if you’re uncertain how they will affect you or interfere with other treatments.

The top home remedies for these two forms of conjunctivitis are:

  • Cold compress
  • Saline solution
  • Rosewater
  • Aloe vera
  • Turmeric

Cold compress

Cold compresses are an immediate pink eye relief solution. Take a piece of linen cloth and dip it in ice water. Remove any excess water from the cloth before placing it on your shut eyes. Repeat this process a few times every day for about 10 minutes. Additionally, ensure you use a different cloth for each y to avoid cross-contamination.

Saline solution

Saline solution is a mixture of water and salt. This simple remedy works great in remedying allergic conjunctivitis. Mix warm water with salt, let it cool down and use it as eyewash. This solution minimizes eye irritation and inflammation.

Rosewater

Rosewater contains both soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Put about three drops of the rose water in your eyes once a day for three days. You can also dip a clean cotton ball in the rose water and place it over your eyes for several minutes.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera contains anti-bacterial and anti-viral compounds like emodin and aloin. Apply the gel from aloe vera around the infected area and leave it for some time. This remedy works best if you start applying the aloe as soon as you notice the conjunctivitis infection.

Turmeric

Turmeric is widely known for its numerous healing properties, including remedying pink eye. Boil some turmeric and place a piece of cloth or cotton into the water before leaving it to cool. When lukewarm, place the cotton over your eyes and leave it for a few minutes.

Conjunctivitis Preventative Measures

Maintaining good eye hygiene will reduce the chances of developing pink eye. Here are a few practical tips you can use to lower the chances of developing conjunctivitis:

  • Regularly clean your contact lenses and case.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes needlessly.
  • Check the use-by dates on any facial products, including makeup items.
  • Use separate towels when grooming.
  • Wear eye protection gear when working with chemicals.

When Should You Visit a Doctor Because of Conjunctivitis?

As mentioned, most cases of pink eye clear up on their own. However, some cases could undoubtedly benefit from medical intervention. Contact your doctor if:

  • You have a history of eye infections and diseases
  • You are immunosuppressed
  • You are a child

Generally, if the pink eye does not clear after a week or so, you can also notify your healthcare provider. In addition, if you develop any of the following symptoms when you have conjunctivitis, you should also seek professional intervention.

  • Fever
  • Painful eyes
  • Impaired vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Yellow or green eye discharge

References

  1. What is Viral Conjunctivitis. (February 2022) ADA.

  2. Eye Infections from Contact Lenses. (April 2021) American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  3. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye). (January 2019) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  4. Conjunctivitis (pink eye) – symptoms and treatment. (January 2018). Southern Cross Medical Library.

  5. Eye Allergies (Allergic Conjunctivitis). (October 2015). Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

  6. Conjunctivitis. (October 2013). Journal of the American Medical Association.

  7. Aloe Vera Extract Activity on Human Corneal Cells. (February 2012) National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Last Updated May 16, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.