Viral Conjunctivitis - Pink Eye

Last Modified on Apr 04, 2014

What Is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Often considered an early childhood issue, viral conjunctivitis can actually affect an individual of any age; however, it is often caused by the entrance of bacteria into the eye by touching or rubbing the face, hence why it is common in children. Nonetheless, conjunctivitis, or pink eye as it is more commonly known, is the inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane that outlines the eyelid and conceals the white part of the eyeball. Due to this inflammation and infection, the small blood vessels in the membrane become more visible, causing the white of the eyes to appear pink or reddish in color.

Pink eye has fairly common and easy to identify symptoms; however, the causes of the condition vary greatly. Common symptoms include a pink to red color in one or both eyes, itchiness in one or both eyes, a gritty or dirty feeling in the eyes, discharge or “gunk” that becomes crusty overnight and may make opening the eye difficult. Pink eye may also include excessive tearing as the body’s natural response to “cleanse” the eye.

How Long Is Pink Eye Contagious?

To answer the oft-asked question of how long is pink eye contagious, it is typically considered contagious as long as the eye continues to tear and produce discharge – generally 3 to 7 days. The causes of pink eye can range from a slight infection to an environmental issue. Common causes include virus, bacteria, allergies, chemical or foreign substance splashed in the eye, and a blocked tear duct, specifically in babies.

Home Remedies for Pink Eye

While conjunctivitis typically causes no permanent issue and is rarely a dire health concern, treatment is often needed to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms associated with the condition. Many natural options offer immediate relief and speed the healing process. Activated charcoal diluted in boiling water and strained can be used as an eye drop several times a day to clear the eyes. Likewise, apple cider vinegar swabbed on the outside of the eye removes germs and heals the eye as well. Additional options include colloidal silver, green and black tea bags used as a warm compress and seas salt diluted in water. Keep reading below for many more suggestions from Earth Clinic readers!


POPULAR REMEDIES:

Apple Cider Vinegar26 YEAS
Colloidal Silver16 YEAS
Green Tea Bags12 YEAS
Black Tea Bag9 YEAS
Sea Salt8 YEAS

Activated Charcoal

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)
100%

[YEA]  11/24/2012: Ky Mama from Clinton, Ky: "We have used charcoal for conjunctivits (pink-eye) many times. I have used this on myself and on my children, including little ones. I mix 1 T. of activated charcoal powder in 1 cup of boiled, cooled water. Then I strain it through a coffee filter. The resulting gray water should be kept in a clean jar. 2-4x a day, (definitely right before bed) drop one drop of the gray water into each eye (even if only one eye is infected... It is highly contagious. ) Even after infection has visibly healed, continue one drop a day for a few more days once a day to make sure. Even with one drop, lots of the water will come out of the eye... That is okay as long as at least some got into the eye. I use a drinking straw to get out some water from my jar if I do not have a clean eye dropper on hand. This week my four year old woke up with his eyes crusted shut. I cleaned them gently with a warm washcloth until he could open his eyes. All day his eyes were bloodshot and he had yellowish greenish discharge. 24 hours later, there was no sign of infection! Many years ago when my children had this I would have to pay for an office visit and an antibiotic; so grateful for this cheap, safe, easy alternative."


03/31/2009: Buster from Edmonton, Alberta Canada: "Doctors Agatha and Calvin Thrash in their book "Natural Remedies"

1. Charcoal poultices should be applied overnight. Mix powdered charcoal with water sufficient to make a thick paste and spread it over a piece of flannel or muslin larger than the inflamed area of the eye. Place this over the eye. Cover with a piece of plastic or similar material and hold in place with an ace bandage wrapped lightly around the head. The bandage should not be so tight that it puts pressure on the eyeballs, but it must be snug enough to hold the compress in place overnight. Remove it in the morning, and dispose of the compress in a manner to avoid spreading the infection.

2. Charcoal slurry water eye drops may be used during the day. To make the drops boil one cup of water with one-fourth teaspoon salt (suggest Real Salt, celtic, sea salt as better than table salt) and one teaspoon powdered charcoal. When cool, strain through several layers of cheesecloth. Using a dropper, put four or five drops of the clear fluid in the affected eye every two hours.

An village with 1,000 people in Papua New Guinea had members in most families infected. They found this remedy 10 times more effective than antibiotics. A relative registered nurse suggests this to us family members."

Replies
01/29/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, France replies: "When on holidays in Tunisia I found out that the charcoal Arab and Indian women use inside their eyes is not only because it is beautiful but also against eye disease. As at the time I often had itchy eyes I decided to try and it worked, within a few minutes I felt a lot better. The only thing is that I don't manage to keep my eyes clean as it runs a bit and it makes my eyes rather black underneath. I don't know if this happens because I wear contact lenses.... Someone told me that in India you see a lot of children whose eyes are very black because the mothers use this on them in order to prevent illnesses. I wish I could have the line stay nicely all day like those women do but I have asked advice a few times and I never quite understand how they do it. I suppose that it will work for pink eye as well, in women of course."
06/26/2013: Holly from Westminster, Co replies: "First time having this and I must say, it is aweful. I have bought the charcoal for the remedies you mention but have two questions.

1. My slurry is not clear. It's still black after several times through the cheesecloth. Is this okay?

2. For the poultices, does the paste wrapped in flannel go directly on the closed eyes? And then the plastic on the otherside, or as a barrier between flannel and eye?

Thank you for your clarification and help."

06/27/2013: Mama To Many from Middle, Tennessee, Usa replies: "Dear Holly, I use a coffee filter to strain my charcoal water. I put 1 t. charcoal in 1/4 cup of filtered water and strain it through a filter. It is gray and may have very tiny particles that are okay. I think cheesecloth would let through particles that are too large. They probably wouldn't be harmful, just irritating.

Also, for the poultice... Your eye is closed. Then paper towel or flannel. Then moistened charcoal. Then the plastic wrap to keep the moisture in. But you probably don't need the plastic wrap unless you are doing this overnight.

For conjunctivitis, we have always just done the filtered charcoal water 3-4 times a day. Children are usually cured in a day and adults in a couple of days. But do it a couple of a times a day for a few days after and always do both eyes to prevent reinfection.

~Mama to Many~"


Apple Cider Vinegar

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Apple Cider Vinegar Treatment for Viral Conjunctivitis

Home Remedy Ingredients

  • Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar - 2 Teaspoons
  • Filtered Water - 1 Cup

Mix 2 tsp of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. Dip a cotton pad or soft cloth in the solution to wash the eyelid inside and out. You can place a few drops of the water mixture in the eye as well. You should repeat this treatment every few hours until the conjunctivitis is completely healed. Usually that will take from 2-3 days.

[YEA]  11/22/2013: Mrsg from Fl , Usa : "I woke up one morning with pink eye. In a glass of water in put enough ACV to tint the water and placed drops of it into my eye. It was cleared up completely within two days."


[YEA]  10/12/2013: Melba Toast from Alfred Station, Ny: "I contracted bacterial conjunctivitis Wednesday of this past week. It was probably caused by wearing my contacts longer than recommended and using an old mascara - both very stupid in hindsight. By Thursday morning, my eye was flame red - the conjunctiva and my entire eye. I couldn't even open my eye in the morning without prying it open - it was glued shut with gunk and dried goop. I was hideous. I was about to bite the bullet and spend the $20 copay to have my FNP tell me the obvious when I thought about apple cider vinegar with the mother that has saved me in the past for common ailments (UTI, yeast infection, etc. ) I wondered, "Are there claims that ACV cures pink eye?" Yes, several people had vouched for it. I mixed 5 parts water to 2 parts ACV and administered two drops in the afflicted eye four times within 2 days. Today is Saturday and my eye is clear and pain-free! ACV wins again!"


[YEA]  08/06/2013: Kathy from La: "Just last night I started getting pink eye and put 1Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (with the mother) in a half cup of water and poured the concoction on two cotton balls and let it drip into each eye. It stung briefly but then felt better. As of tonight you wouldn't even know I had pink eye! It was amazing! I did this about three times today."


07/30/2013: Heather from Birmingham, Al Usa: "I've been reading your website for cures for viral conjuctivitous and I am really interested in trying the Apple Cider Vinegar treatment with the mother. I am in a lot of pain and discomfort and need help. I want to try this remedy but I have absolutely no clue what the mother is. Please help!!"

Replies
07/30/2013: Michemax from Trinidad replies: "Try washing your eye with a honey wash. Simply add a few drops (you can add more if you want it stronger) of honey to a little warm water, stir and using the cup of your hand, blink your eye over and over in the honey wash. Repeat 3 or 4 times. Do this at least 3 or 4 times during the day. Your eye will clear up.

I often use this as I get infections from when I use my contact lens."

09/28/2013: Sarah from Vancouver, Bc replies: "Heather, the 'mother' just means the ACV is organic or unpasterized."
03/26/2014: Helen from London England replies: "Hi, I had the same problem and googled it the mother I stuff that forms on the top of the cider In the brewing"


[YEA]  04/30/2013: Nathalie from West Orange, NJ, Usa: "Thank you so much earth clinic for the Apple Cider Vinegar remedy for pink eye. I've suffered for months with it and it wasn't until I was "treated" by an opthamalogist with a steroid which initaally did work but it came back with a vengence. Then the doctor gave a eye drops for allergies which didn't work at all. Finally when I went on the internet and researched my sypmptoms and came across your website and read all the posts about how ACV worked for the different people who had pink eye I felt hopeful. So I tried the ACV remedy and it didn't work but when I went back to this website I realized I wasn't using the ACV with the "mother". So then I got the ACV with "the mother: and I started to see positive changes. Because of this experienced I'm a believer in natural remedies. I used the 2 teaspoon to 1 cup spring water and within a week the infection was gone. Just to make sure it didn't come back I continued using it just twice a day once in moring then once at night for 1 extra week. After having pink eye for months and months it took a week for ME to get rid of my pink eye with no MD degree!!!!!"


[YEA]  04/24/2013: Doddie from Lawrenceville, Georgia, Usa: "Pink Eye bought on by intermittent sore throat-I used 1 teaspoon of ACV to 3 tablespoons of distilled water. I used one drop every 30 minutes to an hour or whenever I thought about it. When I woke up my eyes was glued shut from the infection. I stated using 3-4 drops every 30 minutes to 2 hours which worked better. It burned. My red eye cleared in 3-4 days. I treated the other eye and a little yellow mucus was present but my eye did not get red. I cleaned kept my glasses cleaned with alcohol. I used an eye dropper to pour the mixture in (inside of another small bowl in case some spilled) and what spilled in the bowl I used a cotton disk dampened in this to wipe my eyes throughout the day. I changed disk for each eye. It has left and has not returned."


[NAY]  04/15/2013: Scott from Lockport, Ny Usa: "Please help. I have had viral conjuntivitis for over 4 months. I tried a prescription from an optomitrist and no help. I have now been using 1/4 tsp. Apple cider vinegar to 1/2 cup water mixture for over a week and while it seems to help the itchiness, my eye does not appear to be healing. There is a thick red line through my eye to the left and right of the color circle. It seems to be spreading to the other eye. Has any one ever heard of pink eye like this? I have no insurance but started to call opthamologists about appointments anyway. I am concerned I might be damaging the eye. Yeah, I'm scared. Any words of advice? Thanks"

Replies
04/16/2013: Happy from Up The Creek In, Wv, Usa replies: "Get some cold pressed castor oil from a health food store. Put the castor oil into a 2 ounce dropper bottle. Place one drop of castor oil into each eye, three times per day. [or more times per day]. The castor oil will sooth and heal the eye surface tissues. If there are any infectious biotics in the eye, it will get rid of them. It is very anti-biotic.

For some reason this trait of castor oil is hidden, or un-spoken of, even by castor oil proponents. It is treated as some sort of secret. If you have a cut, a pimple, an infected skin lesion, etc; inflamed or not inflamed, rub some castor oil on them 3 times a day and they will heal within 1 to 3 days time.

Try to find the original cause for this eye condition. When a farmer has cows with this condition, they put cod liver oil into their eyes to cure it. Probably caused by a Vit A deficiency condition. Maybe do some cod liver oil supplement for a month and test it out."

04/16/2013: Elsaeasterly from Elsewhere, Ca replies: "I would be worried that the acid would damage the eye. I used fresh brewed green tea with great success."
04/16/2013: David from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "Try two drops of colloidal silver in each eye twice daily for two days. Has always worked for me."


[YEA]  02/11/2013: Mamma Mia from Cincinnati, Ohio: "This is the third time I have used ACV for curing pink eye in my kids. Wonderful! All redness and goop gone in 48 hours. I add just enough ACV to discolor the water, about 6 drops in 3 ounces. Then just one drop in each eye. Makes your eyes sting a little, but just briefly. The first time anyone in the family got pink eye (I have 5 kids), we went to the doctor, paid the $20 copay and the $25 copay for Vigamox for 3 kids and 2 adults. Multiply $45 by 5 and that's a pretty fancy night out. That was 5 years ago.

When my 4th child got it 3 years ago, I used ACV and it cleared up in 48 hours. Yes, his eyes were all goopy and red. I just kept soaking a cotton ball in the stuff and rubbing it on his eyes every 2-3 hours. Then when me and three of the other kids got it, I used ACV for myself and got rid of it in 2 days. I used colloidal silver for the kids because they were complaining of the stinging with the ACV. The colloidal silver worked great too.

Now my oldest just got it in one eye, red and goopy and I started with black tea. I didn't see a big improvement through the day and I noticed his other eye starting to get red, so I switched to ACV. Twenty-four hours of starting ACV, the redness was almost gone. Next morning no redness. I'll continue to use it 3 times a day for the next 4-5 days just to make sure it's gone for good. Just one drop in each eye.

Now my 4th child has it (super-duper goopy and red within several hours)and I can't get him to do the ACV because of the stinging. So I'm wiping his eye with baby shampoo and flushing it out with black tea every hour. I'm also treating my 2nd and 3rd child with ACV 2x/day just to make sure they don't get pink eye. My 5th child is on antibiotics for an ear infection, so hopefully she won't get it.

Always works. Love it. I have used both Organic Unfiltered ACV and regular ACV. Both have worked the same for me."


01/27/2013: Clo from Sherman Oaks, Ca: "While doing the ACV wash; should one discontinue the drops from the opthalmalogist?"


[YEA]  01/15/2013: Brainbuster from Bloomington, Illinois: "Some of the other reviewers here have said that their pink eye was unresponsive to the antibiotic eye drops the doc gave them.

I've gotten pink eye several times (maybe because I have 2 cats... I dunno), and all the times I used the antibiotic drops, they worked.

The reason I'm here is simply because I can't afford to pay a doctor to tell me that I have pink eye (which is obvious). I guess I should've been a doctor, because whenever my eye gets pink, I correctly diagnose that I have pink eye. Reminds me of a car mechanic, but I'll spare you that story. Anyway, ACV works. It also stings. But it works.

I put enough ACV (with mother... Not sure what that is, but I got it because ppl on here said it's important) into a bowl of water to make it look muddy. I then took a Rohto eye drop dropper that I was almost finished with (leaving some of the Rohto liquid in it... Which btw is ten times better than Clear Eyes eye drops for making your eyes bright and white), then, from the bowl of diluted ACV, I sucked up the solution into the Rohto vial (used pliars actually... I'm strong enough to squeeze the eye dropper but the pliars do a better job here).

Every half hour (I set my alarm), I put in the drops, which STUNG. But I did it anyway, even though my eyes are worth thousands of dollars. It's now about 24 hours later, and I almost look like Brad Pitt again.

Thanks, Earthclinic!"


[YEA]  10/09/2012: Shannon from Tucson, Arizona: "Months ago, after a week of pink eye and after receiving two different prescription eye drops from two different doctors, I saw an eye specialist who informed me that I would have to wait out my pink eye because it was a viral infection. Desperate for relief, I came across the ACV cure. I mixed 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of [organic] Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother (raw). Then I dipped a cotton ball into the solution and dripped it into each eye every few hours. The eye specialist told me I should expect the pink eye to last up to 2 weeks, but using the ACV treatment it was gone in less than 6 hours! It was fairly painful because I used quite a bit of ACV, but it was so effective!! Also, moisturizing eye drops are really handy if the ACV makes your eyes overly sensitive- just make sure you wait until the ACV has done its job before you use them! Additionally, remember to wash your hands often, throw out any eye makeup you used before the infection, avoid touching your eyes or face, and use a clean pillowcase each night your eyes are infected.

Two days ago I woke up with pink eye again (associated with a sinus infection I'm assuming) and I got rid of it in one day! What a miracle!"


07/11/2012: Shaina81 from Buffalo, Ny: "Two weeks ago I was exposed to pink eye, and Sunday night I got the Tell-tale Itchy eye and knew I had caught it. Monday morning my first stop was the doctors for the antibiotic drops. I've had pink eye many times in my life and usually by day two on the drops I see improvement, but this time is different. This infection is strong and today, day 3 of the drops it seems to have gotten worse and is starting to spread to my other eye. I have a huge party this coming Sunday and I can't cancel it over pink eye. Desperate, I turned to the internet for natural cures. I figured combining natural treatments couldn't hurt. That's when I found your site talking about ACV. I had a bottle of organic unfiltered ACV with "the mother" so I decided to give it a try.

I was REALLY nervous about stinging, I mean putting vinegar in my eye, the thought alone made me quiver. But I WAS desperate and it was the only home remedy listed which I had on hand. I diluted about 2 tsp into an 8 oz glass of slightly warmed spring water. I didn't have a dropper so instead I poured some of the mix into a shot glass and used it to flush out my eyes.

The sting wasn't bad at all. The itchiness was gone immediately. My three-day infected eye drained all the goop instantly and also the puffiness under it returned to normal but remained red and a bit sore. My other eye, which had just started to be red that morning litterally returned to white and healthy looking instantly after the first flush.

I will be repeating the flush every hour for the day, but after the immediate improvement I just had using it the first time, I am confident that this will work like a charm and my party plans for this coming sunday will be saved!

THANK YOU EARTH CLINIC!!!"


[SIDE EFFECTS]  01/31/2012: Brian from Houston, Tx: "Be careful with this, I used 1/4 tsp in 4 oz for about 3 days. I quit using it about 4 days ago and I have had blurry vision ever since."






 



 

DISCLAIMER
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.