Swollen Eye? Pink Eye? Learn These Natural Treatments to Curb It

Updated on March 31st, 2020
how to cure pink eye

Pink Eye, or Conjunctivitis, is an infection of the eye characterized by swelling, redness, severe itching and tearing of the eye. The eyes also show white and thick drainage. Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are the common bacteria which cause Pink Eye. This is very contagious and spreads very easily.

Did you know?

Nearly 3 million Americans fall prey to pink eye in the United States every year.

Majority cases of pink eye are very mild but the tenure of the irritation and burning symptoms stay for quite some time. What to do for pink eye? There are a variety of treatment options to treat Pink Eye. This article will give you an insight into all the treatment options available towards Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) treatment(1).

How to Cure Pink Eye Naturally

CURE 1: Home Remedies for Pink Eye

1. Coconut oil for Pink Eye

coconut oil benefits

Coconut oil is believed not only to boost overall health but also used in treating Pink Eye as it strengthens the immune system thus fighting against bacteria causing an eye infection.

How to Use

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • A small piece of Cotton or a clean cloth
  1. Take a cotton ball or clean cloth.
  2. Immerse it into the coconut oil completely.
  3. Rub it against closed eyelids of the affected eye.

How much to use:

Whenever you sense irritation in your eye, when you feel that your eyes are going dry or whenever you find it difficult to open your eyes (usually early in the morning when the upper and the lower eyelids stick to each other), you can use coconut oil.


Coconut Oil has lauric acid which is antibacterial and antiviral which makes it one of the best remedies for treating Pink Eye. Moreover, coconut oil keeps the eyes moist and protects it from getting dry.


Coconut Oil is rich in lauric acid. This is used by our body to make the same disease-fighting fatty acid derivative named monolaurin that babies make from the lauric acid they get from mother’s milk. The monoglyceride monolaurin is the substance that helps infants and babies against viral or bacterial infections. Till recently, this benefit was largely overlooked by the nutrition and medical community.

2. Breast Milk For Pink Eye

Breast Milk

There is a lot of reason and research behind saying that mother’s milk is the best food for babies. Mother’s milk has a lot of healing and nutritional properties. Colostrum, present in breast milk has lots of micronutrients, which is highly beneficial for the babies.

Breast milk can be used in the below mentioned ways. This is also recommended by doctors and nutritionists.

How to Use

  • Direct application of breast milk for both the eyelids of the baby 2 to 3 times a day.
  • The application can be done directly or by using a dropper.
  • Application of breast milk on the uninfected eye would save it from infection too.

3. Tea Bags for Pink Eye treatment

Tea bags are a very popular remedy to be used for eye problems. Tea bags not only help in reducing dark circles but also bring down eye redness and puffiness. They are a great home remedy for treating Pink eye and the irritation associated with it.

Tea bags are not only affordable but also easy to lay hands on. Just place them on your eyes, this is an easy way to rest your eyes and unwind from the day’s stress.

How to use

  • 2 Tea bags
  • A cup of hot water


  1. Steep 2 tea bags in a cup of hot water.
  2. Squeeze the dripping liquid from the bags.
  3. Cool the tea bags in a refrigerator.
  4. Close your eyes and place the tea bags on your eyes.
  5. Let the tea bags rest there for about 15 minutes.
  6. You can apply gentle pressure if you like.


Tea contains antioxidants that help in treating many eye concerns. It gives a soothing feel and calms down the irritation and inflammation of the eye.

What varieties of tea can you have?

Chamomile, Rooibos, Calendula, Lavender, Eyebright, Fennel, Fenugreek and comfrey are the different varieties of tea you can use to bring down the symptoms of Pink Eye.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) For Pink Eye

apple cider vinegar benefits

It’s important to make a diluted solution with the Apple Cider Vinegar before application.

Unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar has extremely potent viral fungal and bacterial killing properties(2). This makes it one of the apt remedies for treating Pink Eye.

How to use

  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 Tsp Apple cider Vinegar
  • Fresh Cotton Ball
  1. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water
  2. Mix it well
  3. Dip a cotton ball in the solution
  4. Rub it against your closed eye

How much to Use:

Use this to clean your eyes three times a day. Apply the solution to both the eyes even though only one eye is infected.

4. Boric Acid for Pink Eye

boric acid benefits

Boric Acid, a white powder can be easily dissolved in water. Because of its cleansing and antiseptic nature, boric acid is used as an eyewash. It is a substance that is well known for its treatment of bacterial and fungal infections.

Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye which is an inflammation of the eye’s mucous membrane. Boric Acid soothes the inflamed eyes and treats the bacterial infection if used as an.

How to Use

  • 1 Pint of hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon of boric powder (Pharmaceutical grade)
  • Sterilized bottle
  1. Cool the hot water.
  2. Mix ¼ spoon of boric acid powder in the water.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Transfer it to the sterilized bottle.
  5. Store this in a dark place.

How much to use:

Use this solution three times a day. Apply it to the eyes using a cotton ball.


Because of its cleansing and antiseptic nature, boric acid is used as an eyewash. It kills the bacteria causing infection and relieves you from eye irritation.

5. Holy Basil For Pink Eye Treatment

Holy Basil, also known as Tulasi, is well known for its healing power. The anti-inflammatory and soothing properties of it not only protect the eyes from environmental damage but also from free radicals.

How to Use

  • A vessel of water
  • A handful of Holy Basil leaves
  1. Boil the water
  2. Add the leaves of Holy Basil to it.
  3. Let it further boil for 2 minutes
  4. Let the water cool
  5. Remove the leaves from the solution
  6. Use this water as an eyewash
  7. You can also use this as a warm compress


Bacterial, viral and fungal infections in the eyes are treated by Holy basil. It is also a good source of Vitamin E Protein, Niacin, and Riboflavin, It is also a very good source of Vitamin A, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Folate,  Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Manganese. And Copper.

CURE 2: Foods and Supplements for Pink Eye Treatment

1. Honey For Pink Eye

benefits of Honey

Contents of Organic Honey

Honey has Amino Acids, Alkaloids, Cardiac glycosides, Anthraquinone glycosides, Flavonoids, Enzymes, Organic Acids, Minerals, Proteins, Vitamins, Polyphenols, and water.

Honey is used to treat many kinds of infections as it fights against the bacteria and virus(3). Due to this, Honey has been used from ages for treating symptoms of Pink Eye too,

How to use it

  • 1/4 teaspoon Raw honey
  • 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • A clean dropper
  1. Dissolve the pinch of sea salt and honey in pure warm water.
  2. Don’t make the water too hot as it alters the beneficial properties of the honey.
  3. Mix the solution well.
  4. Transfer it to a clean dropper.
  5. Put1-2 drops in each eye whenever you feel irritation or burning.

2. Salt Water Wash for Pinkeye

salt water
Image: ShutterStock

Over the counter eye drops contain certain lubricants and chemicals which might have a damaging effect on your eyes. If you are looking for a natural eyewash, here is the solution for it.

How to use

  • 1 liter distilled water
  • Salt ½ tablespoon
  • A bowl to mix both the above
  1. Take distilled water in a bowl (lukewarm water – Optional)
  2. Add ½ tablespoon salt to it.
  3. Stir well.

Use this solution as an eyewash


The chloride in the salt cleans the eyes and provides a soothing effect. The sodium acts on the bacteria as it is antibacterial.

3. Turmeric for Pink Eye treatment

Turmeric reduces inflammation as it has healing compounds. The antibacterial properties of turmeric relieve the symptoms of a pink eye if applied topically.

How to use

  1. 1 cup distilled water
  2. 2 tablespoons turmeric powder
  3. A bowl to boil the water
  4. Clean cotton pad or a clean washcloth
  1. Add 1 cup of water to a bowl.
  2. Heal the water until it boils.
  3. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of turmeric to it.
  5. Mix well till the turmeric dissolves in the water.

Soak a cotton pad or the washcloth in the solution and use it as a warm compress on your eyes.


The antibacterial properties of turmeric act on the bacteria causing Pink eye and relieves you from inflammation, irritation almost instantly.

4. Aloe Vera Gel

aloe vera gel for face

Aloe Vera has compounds like emodin and aloin which are antiviral and antibacterial which not only reduce inflammation but also speed up the healing process.

How to use

  • Aloe vera Gel
  • Lukewarm water
  1. Place Aloe Vera Gel on the eyes and eyelids with your eyes closed.
  2. Let it be there for about 15 minutes.
  3. Wash it off with lukewarm water.

How many times:

Do this 2 times a day


Aloe Vera gel reduces irritation and inflammation of the eye. Instead, some extracts of Aloe Vera Gel can be used as eye drops to bring down inflammation of the external parts of the eye.


Zinc helps antioxidant enzymes of the body to reduce free radicals. It also helps the body in absorbing Vitamin A. Zinc also protects against night blindness and macular degeneration.

Sea Foods like oysters are rich in Zinc. Eggs, Beef, peas, wheat germ, and tofu are other sources of foods rich in Zinc.

Precautions: Having Zinc more than the recommended amount can lead to reduced immune system function. It is good to take the advice of a doctor.

CURE 3: Essential Oils for Pink Eye

1. Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oil benefits

All essential oils are volatile as they can be turned to vapor by heating very easily. Tea Tree Oil is considered one of the best remedies for treating Pink Eye.

How to Use

  • A bowl
  • 3 cups of boiling water
  • A towel
  • Tea tree oil – 2 drops
  • Boil 3 cups of water in a bowl
  • Add two drops of Tea Tree oil to it
  • Breathe the vapor with a towel on your head
  • Cover the vessel and your face by keeping your eyes open
  • See that no vapor escapes out


The antiviral, disinfecting and antibacterial properties of the tea tree oil reach your eyes and fight against the virus and bacteria, thus relieving you from inflammation and irritation.

How many times a day:

You can use this remedy 2 times a day which would prove very effective in getting rid of Pink Eye.

2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

How To Use

  • Coconut oil – half cup
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil – 3 drops
  • A small ball of cotton
  1. Take half a cup of coconut oil
  2. Add 3 drops of Eucalyptus oil
  3. Mix till you get an even consistency
  4. Dip the cotton ball into the solution
  5. Rub it on the eyes as if cleaning them
  6. The dried ooze formed on the eye will be removed and you will feel relieved.


Eucalyptus oil reduces irritation and inflammation of the eye and gives relief. Coconut Oil has lauric acid which is antibacterial and antiviral which makes it one of the best remedies for treating Pink Eye.

Precautions: Choose unrefined virgin coconut oil as it has no chemicals. This is not for oral ingestion. Be sure that you keep essential oils away from the reach of children.

[Read: Benefits of Coconut Oil]

3. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oils
Image: Shutterstock

How to Use

  • A container
  • 4 cups of boiling water
  • Lavender Essential oil – 3 drops
  • A cloth big enough to cover your head
  1. Boil 4 cups of water in a bowl
  2. Add 3 drops of Tea Tree oil to it
  3. Breathe the vapor with a cloth on your head
  4. Cover the container and your face
  5. keep your eyes open
  6. See that no vapor escapes out


The antiviral, disinfecting and antibacterial properties of Lavender Essential oil reach your eyes and fight against the virus and bacteria, thus relieving you from inflammation and irritation.

How many times a day:

You can use this remedy 2 times a day which would prove very effective in getting rid of Pink Eye.

4. Neem oil


Contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight bacteria and soothe inflammation. It can also prevent and alleviate pain and irritated skin. It can be used in combination with tea tree oil for a combined effect of antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Applying a small amount of neem oil around the affected eye, preferably before bed, will lead to a notable improvement over a few days.

Neem oil fights with the bacteria causing Pink eye and offers a soothing effect to the eyes.

How to use

  • 2 tablespoons Neem Oil
  • 2 tablespoon Coconut oil
  • 2 clean cotton balls
  • A small bowl to mix the above
  1. Take a small bowl
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of neem oil to it
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to this
  4. Mix well for an even consistency

Dip 2 cotton balls in this mixture and clean your eyes with it.

How many times:

Follow this procedure once every night just before going to bed.


Ensure that the oil does not enter the eye.


Neem oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties which act very effectively against the bacteria and provide you relief from symptoms of Pink eye instantly.

Foods to avoid for Pink eye

Excess intake of sugary and starchy food should be avoided. These foods include Potatoes, Pies, White bread, Sugar, Refined Cereals, Confectionary, and Jams. Excessive quantities of protein & fatty food and Meat, Strong coffee and Tea. excessive salt, sauces, and condiments should also be avoided.

How do you stop the spread of Pink Eye?

  • Pink Eye is highly contagious. If you or someone around you is affected with Pink Eye, follow the below-mentioned precautions to prevent its spread.
  • Always wash your hands with warm water and soap (If you have touched the affected person’s clothes or eyes).
  • Use an alcohol-based strong sanitizer.
  • If you are affected, avoid rubbing or touching your eyes.
  • Wash off eye discharge frequently. Do not use the same eye dropper for both affected and unaffected person.
  • Don’t share blankets, pillows, and towels.
  • Do not share makeup brushes, containers of eyeglasses, face makeup or eye makeup.
  • Wash your eyeglasses with water regularly.

The symptoms of moderate to mild cases of the pink eye generally come down without any medication. Pink eye can be treated by using many home remedies which are commonly found in and around our home.

People also use eye drops, eye compresses and over the counter medicines.

If you are not sure about what works better for you, consult a doctor.

Also Read:

Natural Treatments For Black Eye

Best Remedies To Cure Eye Floaters Naturally


Does Pink eye go away on its own?

Nearly 2 third of all pink eye cases subdue within 3 to 5 days. And in most cases, using Antibiotic drops is also not necessary. Bacterial Pink Eye is seen to be resolved within 6 days, without the need for any treatment.

Is there any over the counter medicine for pink eye?

Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis which is a viral and bacterial infection has no ‘over the counter’ medicines; however, there are certain over the counter products that can treat the symptoms caused by Pink Eye.

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