I was so surprised when I got pink eye (Conjunctivitis) a few weeks ago. I thought it was only something young children contracted, and knew from working in elementary schools that it can be contagious.
Determined to find my own solution, I began researching and trying home remedies that alleviate the ugly condition. Risky? Possibly. But I was NOT hopping in my car at 2 a.m. to rush to Urgent Care so they could give me an expensive prescription eye drop made from who-knows-what.
My symptoms were just beginning, so I wanted to try a home remedy and sleep on it.
What is Pink Eye?
My research revealed that pink eye is a common eye infection with several types to contract. Pink eye can be viral (caused by a virus), bacterial (from bacteria getting into the eye), or allergic (from an allergic reaction).
You can contract pink eye at any age, but it’s most common in children.
Pink eye is not a dangerous infection, but can be highly uncomfortable for the individual. The trademark “pink” eye is accompanied by other symptoms, depending on what type of infection it is.
Allergic pink eye will often cause itching, redness, swelling, and excessive watering of the eyes. You may also notice sneezing and a stuffy or itchy nose.
Bacterial pink eye is often characterized by a heavy, sometimes crusty and yellow or greenish discharge of the eyes after sleeping. Sometimes eyes will be “stuck” shut upon waking. Bacterial symptoms can also include swelling, itching, and painful eyes.
Viral pink eye usually affects only one eye (though it can spread to both) and is accompanied by clear, watery discharge. Sufferers of viral pink eye might also have cold-like symptoms.
Bacterial and viral pink eye is very contagious. Pink eye caused by allergens is not contagious. However, it can be difficult to determine which type you have so precautions should always be taken to avoid spreading the infection to others.
My milk and honey pink eye cure
It sounds like a soothing bedtime drink, and you might be thinking I’m totally nutso for using milk and honey in my eyeballs. I know I may take the guinea pig thing too far sometimes, but I was almost certain I was suffering from allergic pink eye, and being confident I could rid myself of the problem, I took the calculated risk.
I found a website that suggested using a warm milk and honey mixture to treat pink eye, and since I had both ingredients I quickly mixed up a batch of the solution so I could get to bed and catch some Z’s.
I warmed about 1 tablespoon of raw milk over the stovetop until it was just barely warm. (I didn’t want to scald my eyeball.) Then I mixed in about 1 tablespoon of raw, unpasteurized honey and stirred. I put 2-3 drops of the solution into each affected eye with a sterilized dropper. This part was no fun, I hate putting things in my eyes and it stung like the dickens! (And for a split second I thought both eyeballs might shrivel up by morning.)
I then refrigerated the remainder of the solution, and went to bed.
The next morning I ran straight to the bathroom mirror. I was amazed to see the whites of my eyes as white and no longer pink! (And halleluia…no shriveling!)
Throughout the day, the slightest pink tint returned to my eyes, so I added 2-3 drops of the mixture to each eye two more times that day. I had no problems with the pink eye after those subsequent applications.
(For legal purposes, I’m not suggesting everyone can or should try to cure pink eye with a home remedy. For some, it may be best to consult a trusted health care provider. I’m not a doctor and this article should not be mistaken as medical advice. It’s generally not wise to test things out in your eyes, but being confident of the ingredients, I’m happy to report the home remedy worked for me.)
Treating pink eye at home
I was prepared to try other things if the milk and honey formula didn’t produce results for me. I was hoping for overnight results and – though it made me nervous to put something into my eyes that I would normally put into my mouth – I remembered the healing properties of many natural foods and decided the reward was worth the risk. (Find raw milk here, and raw, unfiltered honey here.)
I have read that simple saline washes (salt + water) do the trick for pink eye. Have you heard about breast milk being a good cure for it? I also read a lot about brewed black tea bags as a good compress and eye drop. I know there are many more natural home remedies out there, but am thankful I didn’t have to try any others.
Do you have your own go-to natural pink eye cure? Have you ever tried milk and honey for treating Conjunctivitis?
(Keep in mind, if commenting, I’m NOT recommending everyone use home remedies for treating pink eye; I’m only sharing my experience. Feel free to add to the conversation if you have experience using a natural remedy to treat this condition. If you’re a naysayer, remember to be kind.)
References and Resources
- Conjunctivitis (Pink eye), on NativeRemedies.com
- Natural Pink Eye Remedies from AltMedicine.About.com
- Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) Symptoms, Remedies & Prevention on AllAboutVision.com
photo credit to stardust