Pink eye is also called conjunctivitis. Your eye turns pink due to bacterial or viral infections. Here’s how to get rid of pink eye fast and naturally. We have also discussed home remedies for pink eye in babies and adults to help you get rid of the inflammation naturally and quickly.
Pink eye occurs when the blood vessels in your eyeball get inflamed. The inflammation can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Other common causes include allergy and a foreign object in the eye.
“Conjunctivitis can have several causes, but many eye doctors use the term “pink eye” to refer only to viral conjunctivitis, a highly contagious infection caused by a variety of viruses.” [All About Vision].
What causes pink eye?
- What causes pink eye?
- Symptoms of Pink Eye
- How to get rid of pink eye fast
- 11 Home remedies for pink eye
- 1. Cold compress or warm compress
- 2. Honey cure for pink eye
- 3. Aloe vera gel
- 4. Turmeric cure for pink eye
- 5. Green tea to get rid of pink eye naturally
- 6. Neem oil
- 7. Use colloidal silver to get rid of pink eye overnight
- 8. Breast milk home treatment for pink eye
- 9. Potato to soothe pink eye
- 10. Cod liver oil
- 11. Apple cider vinegar to cure bacterial pink eye
- Tips to relieve pink eye symptoms quickly
- How to prevent pink eye
- How long does pink eye last?
How do you get pink eye? Before you go further on how to get rid of pink eye fast, it is important to know the exact cause. The cause will determine the most effective treatment for pink eye. There are three major causes of conjunctivitis. These are viral infections, bacterial infections and allergic reactions.
- Viral conjunctivitis: Viral pink eye is caused by a viral infection, adenovirus. The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is also one of the most problematic causes of viral pink eye. The virus is highly contagious and can easily spread among children and even adults.
Symptoms of viral pink eye include watery discharge from eyes, photophobia and general irritation.
- Bacterial pink eye: Bacterial conjunctivitis is more common in babies than in adults. It is caused by bacteria – mostly staphylococcus aureus. Patients of gonorrhea and chlamydia may also get bacterial pink eye.
- Allergic conjunctivitis: This is caused by allergic irritants that come in contact with the eye. Irritants may include animal dander, dust and pollen. Contacts, some liquids and dirt can also cause allergic pink eye. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. Read also: is pink eye airborne?
There are other non-infectious causes of pink eye that include chemical irritants, underlying inflammatory diseases and even trauma to the eye. In order to treat and get rid of pink eye quickly, your doctor has to determine the exact cause. Both medical cures and natural home remedies for pink eye target the underlying cause.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
What does pink eye look like? The symptoms of conjunctivitis can easily be summarized by red eyes or bloodshot eyes. The conjunctiva is also likely to swell and feel much irritated. Some of the signs and symptoms can spread to the ears and nose. Here’s a summary of the symptoms of bacterial and viral pink eye.
- Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid (red eyes)
- Itchy eyes
- Eye discharge
- A runny nose
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Excessive tearing
- Thick yellow discharge from the eye. This can crust on your eyelashes in the morning
- Blurred vision
- Increased sensitivity to light or photophobia
- Burning eyes
- Green or white mucus discharge from eyes
According to Dr. Axe, the symptoms of both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are very similar. It is important for your doctor to test to determine the cause before prescribing a treatment to get rid of pink eye quickly.
How to get rid of pink eye fast
Medical treatments such as antibiotics and antiviral medications can help relieve the symptoms of pink eye fast. Some home remedies too can help cure pink eye symptoms until the infection can go away on its own.
“A home remedy for pink eye like aloe vera gel or neem oil can make pink eye symptoms more tolerable until the infection clears up on its own.” [- Dr. Axe]. Here’s how to get rid of pink eye naturally at home using home remedies.
Antibiotic eye drops to cure bacterial pink eye
As already noted, the best treatment depends on the cause. Bacterial pink eye can be cured using antibiotics. To get rid of pink eye fast, visit your doctor to determine the cause. It can be futile treating viral or allergic conjunctivitis using antibiotic eye drops.
- Antibiotics are prescribed in the form of eye drops or topical ointments.
- According to the CDC, taking antibiotics can cure pink eye faster. The antibiotic pink eye treatments “can help shorten the length of bacterial conjunctivitis, reduce complications, and reduce the spread of infection to others.”
- If your doctor prescribes such medication rightly, it can get rid of pink eye overnight (if the infection is just starting). It can also take 2 to 5 days to see improvements.
In some instances, mild bacterial pink eye in babies and adults may not need any treatment. You can see improvements within a few days even though the infection can last up to 3 weeks. The most common prescription antibiotics for treating pink eye fast include fusidic acid and Chloramphenicol.
In most cases, viral conjunctivitis will go away on its own without medicine or treatment. This can happen within several days. However, some patients may need antiviral medications.
These kinds of medications are more specific to the cause of viral conjunctivitis. Your doctor can prescribe medications for herpes simplex virus or for varicella zoster virus depending on which one is causing your irritation.
Antihistamines to get rid of pink eye overnight
You can get rid of allergic pink eye overnight or much faster by stopping the allergen that is causing the irritation in your eyes. Certain eye drops and allergy medications can provide fast relief. These include topical vasoconstrictors and antihistamine medications.
- Some over the counter pink eye medicine are allergy medications.
- It is important to see a doctor before you start any kind of treatment for conjunctivitis.
- Both eye drops and oral antihistamines can be prescribed to provide quick relief for pink eye.
- Examples of commonly used topical eye drops include azelastine (for adults), antazoline (for adults) and ketotifen (suitable for children above 3 years).
- Oral antihistamines include cetirizine, fexofenadine and loratadine.
According to the National Health Service, “Antihistamines work by blocking the action of the chemical histamine, which the body releases when it thinks it’s under attack from an allergen.” This way, the eye drops relieve pink eye symptoms fast.
Corticosteroids: In cases where allergic conjunctivitis produces severe symptoms, the doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation fast. This is prescribed as an ointment, cream or gel. It is used over a short course, though this type of medication is only chosen as a way to get rid of pink eye fast when it is absolutely necessary.
11 Home remedies for pink eye
Home care can also help relieve pink eye symptoms as the problem clears on its own over time. Holy basil, cold compresses, green tea, aloe vera, neem oil, turmeric etc. are some of the best home remedies for pink eye. Here is how to get rid of pink eye naturally without antibiotics or medicine.
1. Cold compress or warm compress
A warm compress or a cold compress can help relieve the irritation and inflammation. Whichever you will use will depend on how you feel and the cause of conjunctivitis.
- A cold or cool compress can relieve the pink eye irritation if it is caused by an allergy.
- If it is a viral or bacterial infection, a warm compress will soothe and reduce the swelling and redness.
To make a cool or warm compress, do the following:
- Get a clean piece of cloth.
- Soak it in warm or cold water.
- Wring it to get rid of excess water.
- Apply it to the affected eye when closed.
This home remedy can help relieve the symptoms as the infection goes away on its own without medicine or antibiotics. See your eye doctor for treatment if the symptoms do not go away on their own after 2 days.
2. Honey cure for pink eye
Honey is known to have strong antibacterial properties. The antibacterial property makes it a potent home remedy for pink eye, especially bacterial conjunctivitis. There are various recipes for making honey treatment for the eye. One involves honey and chamomile. Another one involves warm milk and honey.
Honey + warm milk
- Warm a small amount of milk and add to a glass. (Do not use boiling honey)
- Add a little pure honey.
- Stir to mix well.
- Drop 2 to 3 drops of the honey-milk mixture into the infected eye.
- Repeat this 2 times a day to heal quickly.
According to Native Remedies, this home treatment can get rid of pink eye overnight or within 24 hours. You can also add a few drops to your routine eyewash. If you prefer doing a warm compress, use honey and honey mixture instead of warm water to get quick relief.
Honey + chamomile
Chamomile, calendula and fennel have strong soothing properties. When combined with honey’s antimicrobial power, they can make a good home cure for conjunctivitis. Here is how to get rid of conjunctivitis fast using honey and chamomile.
Collect the following ingredients: sheets of gauze, chamomile tea bags, local raw organic honey, pure water, dried calendula blossoms and crushed fennel seeds.
- Boil the water in a pan or pot and put it in a cup.
- Add the calendula, chamomile tea bags and fennel seeds into the cup.
- Allow about 10 minutes to steep well and cool.
- Take out the tea bags, gently squeeze each to remove excess liquid.
- Place in the gauze and drip a little honey on one side.
- Make a poultice with it and place it on the affected eye. Make sure the honey side is on the eye.
- Make another poultice for the other eye even if it is not infected.
- Relax with it for about 10 minutes.
Repeat this treatment twice a day to get quick relief. Since some types of conjunctivitis can be contagious, it is important to treat both eyes to prevent it from spreading to the other eye.
3. Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera has both antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. The amodin and aloin compounds in aloe vera gel make it a good home remedy for pink eye or both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis. Aloe vera can also help relieve inflammation in your eye, which is a common symptom of conjunctivitis. Here’s how to use aloe vera treatment to get rid of pink eye overnight.
- Get a fresh, succulent aloe vera leaf.
- Squeeze it to get its gel.
- Put a drop in each eye.
- You can also apply it around the affected eye to reduce inflammation.
Repeat this remedy once a day to cure pink eye fast within a few days. Research has found that the extract obtained from aloe vera can be used safely to treat ailments affecting the human cornea.
4. Turmeric cure for pink eye
Turmeric is a medicinal root that is widely used to treat inflammation, skin problems such as pain, swellings, bruising even eye infections. According to Mercola, “unlike aspirin or ibuprofen, turmeric’s curcumin reduces inflammation naturally, without damaging the liver or kidneys.”
- Boil water and pour it in a cup.
- Add two tablespoons of turmeric powder.
- Stir to mix well.
- Soak a clean washcloth in this turmeric mixture.
- Apply on the red eyes as a warm compress.
The healing compounds in turmeric, when applied topically on pink eye can get rid of the infection. This can work especially when you want to get rid of a bacterial pink eye.
5. Green tea to get rid of pink eye naturally
Green tea has many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant properties. You can use green tea bags to relieve tired eyes. Other than that, you can use green tea to get rid of pink eye naturally and fast. Here’s how to use green tea home remedy for pink eyes.
- Obtain organic green tea bags.
- Steep one tea bag in a cup of warm water.
- Allow it about 4 minutes until the water starts to change color.
- Take the tea bag out, allow it to cool.
- Place it on the affected eye.
- Let it sit for 15 minutes before removing.
Repeat this procedure 3 times a day to cure pink eye faster. Matcha green tea has the best bioflavonoids that can relieve irritation and inflammation caused by bacteria and viruses.
6. Neem oil
Neem oil is made from neem seed extract. Neem has medicinal properties that make it a useful herb for skin problems and many other ailments. Neem oil relieves irritation because of its soothing properties. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will also be beneficial to your eye infection. Here’s how to use neem oil remedy for pink eye.
- Wipe a little neem oil around the infected eye.
- Ensure you also apply on the eyelid.
- Leave it overnight to cure pink eye fast.
Consistent application can help relieve the symptoms faster. Alternatively, if you don’t have neem oil but can get the powder, do this instead:
- Get neem powder or paste.
- Dilute it with boiled water.
- Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes.
- Strain to remain with a clean solution.
- Use this neem medicinal solution as eye drops to treat pink eye at home.
- Put only one eye drop in each eye.
You can try to increase the concentration of neem as your eyes become more tolerant to the solution.
7. Use colloidal silver to get rid of pink eye overnight
“Colloidal silver is used to treat infections due to yeast; bacteria (tuberculosis, Lyme disease, bubonic plague, pneumonia, leprosy, gonorrhea, syphilis, scarlet fever, stomach ulcers, cholera); parasites (ringworm, malaria); and viruses (HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, herpes, shingles, warts). [WebMD].
Colloidal silver is known to have a direct effect on the respiration process of cells. This makes it a good home remedy for pink eye due to its antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can therefore be used to get rid of bacterial conjunctivitis and viral conjunctivitis.
- Clean your hands well.
- Open the infected eye by holding up its eyelid.
- Put two to three drops of colloidal silver into the eye.
- If the other eye is infected, repeat the procedure from 1 to 3 above.
Repeat this procedure to get rid of pink eye overnight in children and adults. You can also apply colloidal silver as an eye wash to cure both bacterial and viral pink eye naturally and fast.
The biggest advantage with colloidal silver is that it can treat all types of infections, including viral and antibacterial ones. This is much better than antibiotics that are known to treat only specific classes of bacteria.
Colloidal silver is perhaps the best home remedy for conjunctivitis as it works as follows:
- The small silver colloids attach to infected cells.
- By attracting them electromagnetically, it sends them to the bloodstream to be removed from the body.
- This way, the viruses and bacteria that cause the irritation in the pink eye are likely to be removed faster.
8. Breast milk home treatment for pink eye
Breast milk contains an antibody compound called immunoglobulin A. This compound prevents the bacteria causing conjunctivitis from attaching itself to the mucosal surface of the eye. This effectively stops the growth of the bacteria and helping your eye heal faster. Here’s how to use colostrum or breast milk to get rid of pink eye in babies.
- Clean your hands well.
- Open the baby’s eye by lifting the eyelid gently with your clean fingers.
- Express a little breast milk into the eye.
- Do this for the other eye.
- Repeat this treatment 3 times a day for about 3 days to clear the infection quickly.
If expressing the milk directly into the eye of the baby is difficult, express breast milk into a cup. Use a dropper to dispense two drops into the eye. Ensure that the eye dropper is clean before using it.
9. Potato to soothe pink eye
Potato has astringent properties. This means that when applied around the eye, it will help reduce the swelling caused by the inflammation. Potato juice can help contract vessels to reduce the swollen eye. Here’s how to use potato to relieve pink eye quickly.
- Wash a fresh potato.
- Slice it up into thin slices.
- Place a slice over each eye and leave it there for about 10 minutes.
- Remove and rinse gently with cold water.
Repeat this home treatment three times a day to reduce the swelling around your eyes quickly.
10. Cod liver oil
Regular bouts of bacterial and viral pink eye might mean you are suffering from vitamin A deficiency. According to a study published by the NCBI, “All persons with chronic conjunctivitis and pterygium (among subjects) have subjective eye disturbances. In persons with chronic conjunctivitis the vitamin A blood level was lower.”
- Fermented cod liver oil is known to be rich in vitamin B12, vitamin A, D and essential fatty acids.
- These make it one of the best home treatments for pink eye.
- Take a single capsule of cod liver oil every day before going to bed.
- This will also prevent conjunctivitis and reduce episodes of allergy.
Always check the label to adhere to the right dosage when taking vitamin A supplements. Foods rich in vitamin A can also increase your vitamin A levels in the body. They include liver, whole milk, carrots, cheddar cheese etc.
11. Apple cider vinegar to cure bacterial pink eye
Apple cider vinegar has both antibacterial and antiviral properties. Though it is highly acidic, you can dilute it and use it as a home remedy to get rid of pink eye fast. Here is how to use apple cider vinegar to relieve bacterial and viral conjunctivitis at home.
- Half fill a cut with water.
- Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Stir to mix well.
- Soak a clean piece of cloth into the solution.
- Apply this damp cloth around your eyes.
Always apply gently to avoid putting pressure on your eyes that can result in further irritation and reddened eyes. If you get itchy eyes or feel the vinegar stinging your eyes, stop using it immediately or try to dilute it further with water.
Tips to relieve pink eye symptoms quickly
You can help relieve the symptoms of pink eye quickly, including itchy eyes, eye discharge and burning eyes with simple eye care practices at home. Here are tips to get rid of pink eye symptoms faster in addition to the home remedies discussed above.
- Always protect your eyes from irritants such as dirt, pollen etc. This can help prevent the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
- Avoid using makeup when you have pink eye. Chemicals in makeup can worsen the irritation and make your eyes red.
- If you wear contact lenses, remove them as they may cause and worsen the irritation.
- You may use artificial tears. These eye drips can relieve itching. Stop their use if the irritation worsens as they can also cause the same.
- Avoid touching your eyes all the time. Do not rub your eyes as this can worsen the burning and itching sensation in your eyes.
- Maintain good eye hygiene. Wash your hands well before touching your eyes or dispensing your eye drop treatment.
If you are using eye drops to treat and cure pink eye fast, ensure that you use a different bottle for each eye. This will help you heal quickly.
How to prevent pink eye
Pink eye can be contagious. Babies and young school going children, day care attendants and people who go to other social places can get pink eye easily. But how do you prevent pink eye infections? Here are tips to help you prevent conjunctivitis.
- Do not share your contact lenses with friends or anyone else. This goes for all types including colored contacts that are used for decorative purposes.
- Always wash your hands frequently. This is very important especially if you spend time in public places such as day cares, public schools etc.
- Talk to your doctor about what you can do to prevent pink eye caused by seasonal allergy.
- If you always get bacterial and viral pink eye from contacts, consider switching to disposable contacts. An alternative is to use contact lens solutions properly.
- Protect yourself from conjunctivitis bacteria when swimming by wearing protective swim goggles.
How long does pink eye last?
What is the incubation period of pink eye? The incubation period is the time it takes before you start seeing symptoms of a disease. The incubation period of pink eye is 24 hours to even 14 days depending on the type of conjunctivitis.
So, how long does conjunctivitis last? Pink eye infection can least from 2 days to two weeks. According to WebMD, “Viral pinkeye symptoms usually last 5 to 7 days but may last up to 3 weeks…”
For as long as you are still experiencing symptoms, pink eye will remain contagious. The methods discussed above on how to get rid of pink eye fast can help reduce the symptoms and stop the spread of the infection.
Sources and references
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) causes, symptoms and treatment
- NHS Choices: Treating conjunctivitis
- Choosing Wisely: Antibiotics for Pink Eye
- Aloe Plant Info: Aloe Vera: A Natural Treatment For Conjunctivitis
- Discover Neem: Eye application of neem
- Needs: Colloidal Silver: No Home Should Be Without It!
- The Science of Mom: Can Breast Milk Cure My Child’s Eye Infection?
- Josh Axe: Honey & Chamomile Home Remedy for Pink Eye
- The American Optometric Association: Conjunctivitis
- The United States National library of Medicine: Vitamin A and carotene concentration in serum in persons with chronic conjunctivitis and pterygium