12 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Pinkeye

Are your eyes pink and itchy? You might have pinkeye.

Also called conjunctivitis, pinkeye is a common eye infection that causes redness and inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball called conjunctiva [1, 2].

The swelling of the blood vessels in the conjunctiva makes the eyes appear pinkish, hence the name [2].

Pinkeye infection can be caused by viruses (Adenovirus), bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae), allergens (dust mites, pet dander, pollen) and irritants [3].

The good news is, this infection can clear up on its own within 10 days or so, and it doesn’t usually affect the vision [2, 4].

You can wait for the infection to heal by itself, or you can get relief using these effective ways to get rid of pinkeye. Here are some of the home remedies that you would want to try.

1. Holy Basil

Holy basil has a lot of practical uses for health and wellness.

It protects the organs from pollutants, stabilizes blood sugar levels, relaxes the mind and body, fights bacterial infection, and lowers blood pressure [5].

Another feather in its hat is that it’s a strong anti-inflammatory that can help tone down blood vessel swelling in cases of pinkeye [5].

This mechanism of action works for both acute and chronic inflammation [5].

The active compounds responsible for this are linoleic acid and eugenol, which inhibit the pathways in charge of the metabolism of arachidonic acid [6, 7].

The way this herb works is similar to that of anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen, ibuprofen and aspirin that doctors commonly prescribe [8].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of holy basil leaves
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Put water in a pot.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Add holy basil leaves.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Let it cool a little.
  • Use the solution as eyewash.
  • Repeat remedy twice a day until condition improves.

2. Aloe Vera

Large quantities of aloe vera are being cultivated all over the world to meet the demand for this highly versatile medicinal plant [9].

Its anti-inflammatory properties have been the subject of many scientific investigations, shedding light to its ability to cure a wide range of ailments [10, 11, 12, 13, 14].

One of these is pinkeye or conjunctivitis.

In a 2012 study that can be found in the Pharmaceutical Biology Journal, it was stated that aloe vera extract can safely be used on human eyes [15].

According to the researchers, it can be used in the form of an eye drop to cure inflammation and other issues involving the eye [15].

Moreover, it has been found to possess active substances that can improve functioning of the cells in the eyes [15].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 aloe vera leaf
  • Warm compress

Recommended Directions:

  • Put a warm compress on top of the eyelid.
  • After a few minutes, remove the compress.
  • Apply aloe vera leaf along the eyelid using a cotton tip.
  • Wash off aloe vera using warm water.
  • Do this twice a day for up to one week.

3. Green Tea

Most people drink green tea to enjoy its multitude of benefits for the health, which include weight loss and anti-aging, among others.

Did you know that green tea can also be applied topically to support skin health and ward off infections?

For cases of pinkeye, green tea can help with its load of bioflavonoids that can effectively ameliorate irritation and inflammation [16].

It also has significant bactericidal effects that can inhibit the activities of Staphylococcus aureus, as reported in several studies [17, 18, 19].

As stated earlier, this particular bacterial strain is one of the major causes of pinkeye infection.

Amazingly, green tea works even on drug-resistant microbes that antibiotics can no longer control [19].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 green tea bag
  • Warm water

Recommended Directions:

  • Soak green tea bag in warm water.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Gently lay it on top of the eyelid.
  • Leave it on for 10 minutes.
  • Repeat several times a day until inflammation subsides.
  • You can also soak a cloth on the tea infused water if you don’t like to apply tea bag directly on the eyelid.

4. Neem

For thousands of years, neem has been used for various medicinal and agricultural purposes in India.

Folk healers have relied on neem extract for the treatment of metabolic disorders, infectious diseases, and several forms of cancer [20].

With its soothing and anti-irritant properties, it can also be useful in the treatment of pinkeye.

Several studies have been conducted to investigate its anti-inflammatory properties, which are also beneficial for this condition [21, 22, 23].

Indian researchers also note that neem is capable of resisting the activities of Staphylococcus aureus and other strains of bacteria [24].

These facts are enough to convince people that the use of neem is helpful for those who have redness and inflammation in the eyes.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 drops of neem oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Let it cool a little before using.
  • Soak a washcloth into the mixture.
  • Wring out excess water.
  • Pour neem oil onto the towel.
  • Apply warm cloth on top of the eye.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes before removing.
  • Re-apply every one or two hours.
  • Do this for four to five days, or until condition gets better.

5. Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver may not be the first remedy on your mind for pinkeye or for any other condition for that matter.

But some say that it’s actually a helpful natural treatment that can act quickly against pinkeye infection.

When you apply it topically on the infection, its silver colloids are said to attract the infected cells electromagnetically [25].

Then it sends them to the bloodstream to be flushed out [25].

Proponents of this home remedy believe that it doesn’t work on certain bacterial species only. It has a broad spectrum of bactericidal effects that can combat many different types of infections [25].

It’s important to know, however, that its safety and efficacy as a medical treatment have not yet been proven in scientific research. [26].

What You Will Need:

  • Colloidal silver
  • Warm compress

Recommended Directions:

  • Close your eyes and apply warm compress.
  • Leave it on for five to 10 minutes.
  • Then, apply a small amount of colloidal silver on the eyelid.
  • Be careful not to get any inside the eye.
  • Wipe it off after three minutes.
  • Re-apply warm compress afterwards.
  • Do this technique three to four times a week for two weeks.

6. Turmeric

Turmeric has become known all over the world as a great healer, and we don’t have to wonder why.

It has numerous healing compounds that exhibit tremendous pharmacological effects.

Most of turmeric’s medicinal properties have been widely recognized and utilized for the last 4,000 years, according to a 2011 report [26].

Its active compound known as curcumin is responsible for its anti-inflammatory actions, which pinkeye sufferers can take advantage of [27, 28].

In addition to this, it can also fight the source of pinkeye infection, which is Staphylococcus aureus [29].

A study performed by a team of scientists from South Korea reports that turmeric can block the invasion of the bacteria, and thus prevent it from spreading [29].

What You Will Need:

  • 2 tablespoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in turmeric powder.
  • Mix until powder dissolves in water.
  • Dip a cloth into the solution.
  • Wring to remove excess water.
  • Apply on the eyelids as a warm compress.
  • Make sure that you can tolerate the heat of the compress before applying it on the skin.

7. Cinnamon

Apart from sending your sweet tooth to heaven, cinnamon also has wonderful benefits for the health.

One is that it helps fight off bacterial infections that cause pinkeye.

A number of studies serve as proof that it can kill pinkeye-causing microbes such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae [30, 31, 32].

Chinese researchers confirm that cinnamon has broad-spectrum antibiotic qualities that can be attributed to its primary component cinnamaldehyde [32].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 drop of cinnamon oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • In a pot, put the water and boil.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add cinnamon powder and oil.
  • Be sure to mix well.
  • Use the solution as eyewash.
  • Wash the eyes using a small amount of this mixture twice daily.
  • Do this for one week.

8. Cold Compress

One of the safest and simplest remedies for pinkeye is cold compress.

Cold therapy is used in various types of inflammatory conditions involving the eye, including conjunctivitis [33, 34].

While most of the other remedies listed here target pinkeye infections caused by bacterial infection, this one can relieve those that are triggered by allergens [34].

Although it doesn’t necessarily kill off the source of infection as with the other methods, it can definitely alleviate the symptoms and along the way, get rid of the discomfort caused by this condition [35].

What You Will Need:

  • 5 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Chill water in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Take it out and pour lavender oil.
  • Soak a towel into the mixture.
  • Apply on the eyelid.
  • Leave it on for a few hours.
  • Repeat procedure twice a day for up to one week.

9. Calendula

Calendula has been cultivated in the gardens of ancient Greeks, Arabs, Hindus and Egyptians since the 12th century [36].

Even during the early years, it has already served many medicinal purposes, treating fevers, wounds, and damaged skin, among others [36].

It contains many biologic compounds such as flavonoids, terpenoids and carotenoids, which explain its pharmacological properties [37].

If you want to get rid of pinkeye once and for all, try using calendula tea, which can be used as an antiseptic eyewash to reduce inflammation [38].

According to research, calendula works by blocking inflammatory compounds and limiting white blood cell infiltration in the tissues [39].

White blood cells are very active when there’s an infection in the body, as they try to fight it off using the body’s inflammatory response.

Moreover, this herbal remedy has also potent antibacterial effects that are effective against Staphylococcus aureus [40, 41].

What You Will Need:

  • 2 teaspoons of dried calendula flowers
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Remove pot from the stove.
  • Put calendula flowers in a cup.
  • Pour water into the cup.
  • Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
  • Strain the solution using a coffee filter or cheese cloth.
  • Use as eyewash several times a day for a week.
  • You can also dip a clean cloth into the mixture and use it as warm compress.
  • This remedy can also be used many times during the day for up to one week.

10. Cucumber

Apparently, cucumber is not just for puffy eyes. Yes, it can freshen up your eyes, and make you look younger.

Apart from that, it can also be used to relieve something that’s a little bit more serious, which is pinkeye.

A study published in the Archival of Ophthalmology shows that fresh frozen cucumber has a beneficial effects on conjunctivitis [42].

It’s a simple yet highly effective remedy to curb this problem. Make it a habit to keep cucumbers in your refrigerator.

What You Will Need:

  • 2 slices of cucumber
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Soak towel in water.
  • Wring out excess water.
  • Place towel in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  • Take it out, and apply on the eyelid for a few minutes.
  • Remove and replace with cucumber slices.
  • Wait for 30 minutes.
  • Repeat the process three times a day until pink eye is resolved.

11. Eyebright

Euphrasia officinalis, more popularly known as eyebright, is another herb that you can use to get rid of pinkeye.

In a 2000 study, eyebright was used as the main ingredient for an eye drop designed to treat this particular type of eye problem [43].

Eyebright drop was tested in the clinics of 12 eye doctors in Germany and Switzerland [43].

The eye doctors prescribed a single-dose eye drop one to five times a day for patients with pinkeye [43].

Within one to two weeks, most of the 65 patients who used this eye treatment reported complete recovery [43].

The use of this eye drop resulted in the alleviation of common pinkeye symptoms such as redness, swelling and irritation [43].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of eyebright herb

Recommended Directions:

  • In a pot, boil water and eyebright for 10 minutes.
  • Let it cool.
  • Strain the mixture.
  • Wash the eye with this solution.
  • Repeat procedure every four hours everyday until pinkeye is cured.

12. Indian Gooseberry

Botanicals such as Indian Gooseberry are used worldwide to treat an array of health problems [44].

In Ayurvedic medicine, this herb is recognized for its strong biological properties that can treat heart disease, oxidative stress and even certain forms of cancer [44].

People who complain of pinkeye can also make use of Indian gooseberry to alleviate their symptoms.

Researchers from India test the efficacy and safety of an herbal formulation designed to relieve various eye problems including pinkeye [44].

Indian gooseberry was one of the key ingredients of this herbal product, which proved to be effective in curbing pinkeye [44].

It was also well-tolerated by the patients and did not cause any unpleasant side effects even after long-term use [44].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of Indian gooseberry juice
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add Indian gooseberry.
  • Mix well.
  • Soak towel in solution.
  • Apply towel on affected eye.
  • Do this remedy once a day for one week.

Pink eye is usually not serious and can go away on its own after a short while, but since it can bring discomfort, and it’s contagious, you would want to get control of it and its symptoms.

These home remedies can certainly help you deal with this condition.