Pinkeye is common; it is also easy to treat at home. I've provided an easy to reference chart identifying types of pinkeye, and for those who prefer natural remedies, there are 7 natural cures for pinkeye listed.
Again, though pinkeye is fairly common, it's apparently newsworthy. We all remember how NBC’s prime-time Olympics host, Bob Costas’, double infection received as much hype as the 2014 Winter Olympics themselves. The poor guy had to take a six-day absence after contracting viral pinkeye.
However, my household hasn’t been a statistic till a couple months ago. I’ve never had pinkeye, and in my entire life I’ve only been around three people who’ve had an active pinkeye infection. Recently though, both my daughters contracted pinkeye as well as five or so other individuals in our circle of friends. This prompted me to research causes, symptoms, remedies and the like.
While many of you may be able to diagnose pinkeye from a mile away, in the interest of being thorough, I'll go ahead and lay it all out in detail here. I will also list natural remedies that are sworn by, to work quickly. I can personally vouch for #3 in the list of Natural Cures.
Pinkeye (also known as conjunctivitis) is defined by redness, swelling, and itching of the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. There are four types of pinkeye. Two types are highly contagious. This chart provides an easy reference.
4 Types of Pinkeye - Identified
Allergen based Pinkeye
Thick Yellow, Greenish Gray, causing eyelashes to stick together
Clear and Watery or White
2-4 days with treatment /
7-10 days without treatment
Until Chemical Agent Removed
Until Allergen Removed
Swelling of Upper Eyelid
Swelling of Eyelids
Antibiotic Drops, Ointment or Pills
Washing of Eye, and Doctor Visit if Pain or Blurred Vision Occurs
- If you suffer from either viral or bacterial pinkeye, given the highly contagious nature of the infection, you’ll want to treat both eyes as it can quickly spread from one eye to the other.
- If you can’t determine whether it’s viral or bacterial, you just know its red, swollen and “goopy” as we say in our house, you can still use one of the natural remedies below.
- If you are unsure of the presence of an actual infection (i.e. it’s an injury to the eye itself), it is recommended you don’t attempt a home remedy prior to seeking medical attention.
Now that we've discussed the signs and symptoms of pinkeye, let's discover successful home treatments.
7 Natural Cures For Pinkeye - Unveiled
1. Breast Milk
If there is a nursing Mom in the house, you probably already recognize the healing properties of this “liquid gold”. Breast milk contains immunological agents and other compounds, that fight off viruses and parasites. It is also an anti-bacterial and can be used as a multi-purpose healing agent. It is even used in Hospitals in a multitude of arenas to fight infection and build immunity.
"Human breast milk has proven to be the most effective liquid to treat babies and children with the eye infection." (Source: Medical Daily - italics mine)
You could try squirting breast milk directly onto the eye surface of the eye, but I smile picturing how graceful an application that would be, at least if I tried to do it. Instead, hand express or pump a couple tablespoons of milk into a small container. You could use frozen breast milk, warming the frozen bag in a pan of warm water. Although, since only a small amount of milk is needed, and fresher is better, the best option would be to express some milk.
Consideration: If the milk source (i.e. the mom) were infected with a serious bacterial, viral or fungal infection (i.e. candida, staph, herpes, etc.), the medical community would definitely not recommend placing the milk into the eyes, as it could cause complications.
- With a clean dropper, administer 1-2 drops in each eye, three times a day, for a couple of days or until the infection has cleared. If you don't have a dropper on hand, this one is easy to order: 1 Ml Calibrated Glass Dropper - Straight Tip
- If your child gets twitchy a trick is to have them close their eyes, tilt their head back, place drops in the corner of their closed eyelid, slowly open their eye, and lift up their eyelid slightly to let the milk circulate underneath.
2. Raw, Unpasteurized Goat or Cow's Milk
Instead of an antibiotic try a live probiotic. In the absence of breast milk, you can use goat or cow's milk. It must be raw and unpasteurized.
- Follow the same instructions as provided under #1.
Again, here you're using a live probiotic. In the absence of breast milk or unpasteurized goat or cow's milk, you can easily get plain yogurt. You may even have some plain yogurt in your refrigerator right now. It must be plain, unflavored yogurt with no added ingredients.
- Take the whey or liquid that forms on the top of the yogurt, pour it into a holding cup, and administer drops in the same manner as the instructions under #1.
4. Colloidal Silver
The use of silver solutions for eye infections is nothing new. silver nitrate drops were used routinely in they eyes of newborns eyes to prevent certain types of bacterial infection. Now they typically use erythromycin.
- 1-2 drops in each eye, three to four times per day.
This is a link to Colloidal Silver from Source Naturals since it may not be easy for all to locate: Source Naturals Wellness Colloidal Silver, 30 ppm, 2 Ounce
5. Raw Honey
Countless studies have affirmed honey’s antibacterial/antiviral properties. The honey must be raw and unprocessed. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of raw honey in 1/4 cup distilled warm water; take care not to get the water too hot or you may destroy the beneficial properties of the water. If you don’t have distilled water, you could bring it to a boil then let it cool before dissolving the honey.
- With a clean dropper, administer 1-2 drops in each eye, every 2-3 hours as needed.
6. Saline Eye Drops
- Administer several times a day, making sure not to spread the infection with a contaminated bottle or dropper.
7. Herbal Tea Poultices
Chamomile, fennel, and red eyebright can be used to make herbal tea, and then use the tea for a hot compress
This next one is a “Bonus” >
8. Ice Cubes
I could find no sources supporting this claim, but supposedly since pinkeye thrives in warm environments, ice used repeatedly throughout the day can help kill the germs. Personally, I think I'd rather use another remedy that doesn’t sound as painful as the infection itself.
Health Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be one. I share these remedies only for informational purposes. It should not be treated as medical advice nor is it intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from your doctor or another licensed healthcare provider. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. Reliance on any information provided on this website is solely at your own discretion and risk. By using this website, you agree to the terms of this disclaimer.
P.S. What natural remedies do you swear by?