Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is a common problem that nearly everyone will face at some point in their lives. It is an inflammation of the eye that causes redness and pain.
There are several different types of pink eye. Sometimes it can be caused by allergies or exposure to chemicals. Other times it is caused by bacteria, but most of the time, a virus is to blame.
Unlike bacterial pink eye, the viral pink eye cannot be cured by antibiotics; it must be left to run its course. You cannot heal viral pink eye, but you can treat the symptoms.
Here are five home treatments for pink eye that is caused by a virus.
Green Tea Compress
Green tea contains antioxidants and bioflavonoids that can decrease inflammation. The heat from the compress is soothing to the eye.
To make a green tea complex, dip a green tea bag into boiling water. Remove the tea bag and put it over your eye as soon as it is cool enough. You can also wrap the bag in a paper towel before gently pressing it against your eye.
Essential Oil Blend
Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral components. Try this combination to treat your eye.
Combine two drops of lavender essential oil, two drops of tea tree oil and two teaspoons of a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Use a cotton ball or clean cloth to apply the mixture to the bone along your eyebrow.
Repeat two or three times each day for pain relief and decreased redness.
Hot or Cold Compress
Many people find that heat calms the pain of the eye, while others prefer a cold compress. You can run a washcloth under hot or cold water and then apply it to your affected eye.
Also, try herbal packs you can heat up in the microwave or cooling packets wrapped in paper towels.
Neem oil is a natural pesticide often used by gardeners, but it can be used for pink eye as well. Apply a small amount of neem oil to your eyelids before going to sleep at night. You are likely to see a decrease in redness and irritation.
Chilled Moisture Drops
Eye drops typically used for dry eyes can also be useful in treating pink eye. The drops can wash away some of the annoying discharge that pink eye creates.
Try chilling the eye drops in the refrigerator before applying them to your eye. The cool liquid can be soothing and help relieve pain.
If your eye symptoms continue to get worse after several days, if the pain is unbearable or if you develop thick discharge, then you should see your doctor. Your pink eye may be bacterial, and a doctor can prescribe antibiotics.
If your pink eye is indeed viral, treat symptoms like inflammation, pain, itchiness and discharge with these home treatments.
Also, keep in mind that pink eye is highly contagious. Wash your hands frequently, and avoid rubbing your eyes until symptoms disappear.