Quick Home Remedies for Pink Eye

How is pink eye treated?

Home remedies can often ease the symptoms of pink eye (also known as conjunctivitis). Most pink eye will go away on its own in a week or two. You can make that time more comfortable by trying the remedies described below.


Sometimes you need to see a doctor for pink eye. It depends on what kind of pink eye you have and how bad it is. See your ophthalmologist right away if:

  • You’re in pain or are having trouble seeing

  • You become sensitive to light

  • Your symptoms have continued for a week or more, or are getting worse

  • Your eye is producing a lot of pus or mucus

  • You have any other symptoms of an infection, like fever or achiness

Pink eye or Conjunctivitis is a common cause of school absences and can spread quickly in schools. Make sure your kids know how to keep from getting pink eye and other infections.


What You Can Do at Home for Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)


Stop wearing contact lenses. Use a new pair when you go back to wearing your contacts. Your old contacts are likely infected and could get you sick again if you wear them again.

Stop wearing eye makeup. Throw out your old eye makeup and get new makeup once your eyes are healthy.


Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis home remedies

If one or both of your eyes are red and uncomfortable, it could be allergic conjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis, or bacterial conjunctivitis. Sometimes it’s easy to figure out what kind of pink eye you have and other times only a doctor can tell what’s causing the problem.

Viral conjunctivitis is like a common cold in the eye. There is no treatment for the virus and usually, you just have to let it heal on its own. Viral conjunctivitis should go away within a week or two without treatment.

Bacterial conjunctivitis usually produces more mucus or pus than viral or allergic conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor.


Allergic conjunctivitis home remedies

If your conjunctivitis is caused by allergies, stopping the source of the allergy is important. Allergic conjunctivitis will continue as long as you’re in contact with whatever is causing it.

Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. You can still go to work or school with allergic conjunctivitis and no one else will catch it. To reduce the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis you can:

  1. Take allergy medicine or use allergy eye drops.
  2. Put a cool, damp washcloth over your eyes for a few minutes.
  3. Use over-the-counter lubricating eye drops (artificial tears).

What Not to Do If You Have Conjunctivitis

Whatever kind of pink eye you have, don’t use red-reducing eye drops, like Ocurest-AH or I-KUL plus. These kinds of eye drops may be very uncomfortable if you have an infection. They also could make your symptoms worse.

Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can spread very easily—as easily as the common cold. If you have an infection in just one eye, be careful not to spread it to the other eye. And be careful not to spread the infection in public, either.

How to Avoid Spreading Conjunctivitis

Basic hygiene is enough to keep from spreading the infection to other people or your other eye.

Change pillowcases and sheets every day or place a sheet over your pillow to change everyday.

Use a fresh towel every day.

Wash your hands often, especially after you touch your eyes.

Don’t wear your contact lenses until your eyes are back to normal.

Don’t share anything that touches your eyes.


Breast Milk for Conjunctivitis?

Blogs and social media posts sometimes recommend putting breast milk into a child’s eye if they have conjunctivitis. There is no science that supports using breast milk for conjunctivitis and it could be more harmful than helpful. Eye infections in young children can be very serious—even blinding. Don’t delay seeing a doctor and don’t rely only on traditional remedies.

Bloggers who recommend breast milk for conjunctivitis say that substances in breast milk can cure the infection and soothe inflammation. But one of the few studies into whether breast milk can fight infections not only found that it didn’t cure the most common causes of pink eye—the milk can introduce new bacteria into the eye.


There is lots of bad advice about conjunctivitis on the internet. Never put anything in your eye that isn’t approved by a doctor. Foods and herbal extracts are not sterile and can make eye conditions much worse.

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