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Viral Conjunctivitis - Pink Eye

Last Modified on Jan 13, 2016

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!

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Remedies for Pink Eye

Alphabetical Popularity Recent Post
Activated Charcoal12009-03-31
ACV, Green Tea Bags, Honey12015-12-07
Apple Cider Vinegar322016-01-12
Apple Cider Vinegar, Cabbage Leaves12011-09-02
Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil, Green Tea12013-09-19
Apple Cider Vinegar, Green Tea Bags12015-12-26
Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey12009-07-13
Apple Cider Vinegar, Sea Salt12013-10-14
Baby Shampoo12007-05-19
Bathed in Cool Water With Cotton Wool12010-01-29
Black Tea and Salt Water12009-03-01
Black Tea Bag122015-04-13
Boric Acid12011-04-04
Brown Tea Bags12009-09-01
Castor Oil22012-02-23
Coconut Oil52014-09-27
Colloidal Silver162015-02-18
Colloidal Silver, Saline, Apple Cider Vinegar12013-03-24
Flax Seeds and Aloe Vera Juice12008-08-07
Green Tea Bags102012-01-08
Himalayan Salt12014-08-11
Honey, Comfrey, Olive Leaf, Salt12009-03-26
Keratoconjunctivitis Remedies12013-08-14
Lemon Juice32008-10-01
Marigold, Calendula and Eyebright12010-03-21
Multiple Remedies22010-10-13
Raw Milk And Honey12013-05-05
Raw Potato Juice12009-04-28
Reader Feedback22012-01-07
Rue Fennel12010-10-21
Saline Solution12007-03-25
Sea Salt82010-07-02
Tea, Lemon Juice12012-06-12
Vapor From Raw Onions12010-01-27

Activated Charcoal  

Posted by Buster (Edmonton, Alberta Canada) on 03/31/2009

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.

Replied by Francisca
Michelbach-le-bas, France

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.
Replied by Holly
Westminster, Co

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.

Replied by Mama To Many Donate

Middle, Tennessee, Usa

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~

ACV, Green Tea Bags, Honey  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Severe Pink Eye Sufferer (Winkler, Manitoba, Canada) on 12/07/2015

[YEA]  I have been in extreme pain due to pink eye for the fourth day. The eyes themselves as well as the lids and skin around the eye are extremely affected. I started on the first day with antibiotic eye drops from the pharmacy. I used these for about a day and a half. It got even worse with these drops, it was so bad that the seeping from my eyes was orange in colour. My eyeballs were dark red... I realized that this was not working and so I bought Visine 8 symptom eye relief drops as well as a Visine antihistamine drop. I used these for the next two days with no relief except that my eyes stopped with the orange/reddish mucus seeping. But the lids and the skin around my eye were still burning with pain and I had huge sacks of liquid forming under my eyes.

I tried cool wash cloths, warm wash cloths and putting a aloe skin softener on but all of these gave me very brief periods of relief.

This morning my eyes were almost completely swollen closed and stuck shut. I was crying because of the pain. I called to speak to a pharmacist but he was not available so that's when I googled home remedies for pink eye. Holy cow am I glad I did!!!

1. First I took a cotton pad and dipped it into Apple Cider Vinegar and pressed them onto the eye so that the ACV ran into my eye. I could feel relief immediately But not for all the symptoms I was having.

2. Then I put green tea bags (which I had boiled in a cup of water and then put them in the freezer to cool) onto each eye and let the liquid run into my eyes. I did this until the tea bags weren't cold anymore. I found this to be a big relief as well.

3. Then I dipped Qtips into liquid honey and put that onto my eyelids and lashes and the skin around my eyes. This helped a lot too. It is now about 2 1/2 hours later and I can feel the sand in the eye and the burning just starting to come back. I will now repeat all three things.

I cannot even express how much this has all helped!! Unbelievable!!!! From going completely crazy in pain to almost pain free in 3 simple steps!! Thanks to everyone who posted on each of these 3 remedies!! I will continue with these remedies and post again in a day or two with the results.

Apple Cider Vinegar  
44 User Reviews | 31 YEA | 2 NAY | 2 SIDE EFFECTS    Treatment

Posted by Carla (California) on 01/12/2016


My eye has been bothering me all afternoon...itchy, goopy, etc. I came on this site and saw that ACV was the most popular cure and I tried it.

I used a half cup distilled water with a half teaspoon ACV and applied with a cotton ball. Like some of the other posters did, I first lightly rubbed it on my closed eyelid and then squeezed a bit out so it would run in my eye. And yes, it did burn a bit, but not long. But my, oh my! The relief was instant! The itching, blurring and running goop was gone. I have done it twice in an hours time, and will again before I go to bed.

I know it's not healed yet, but I bet it will be by the end of the day tomorrow (taking the mixture to work).

Posted by Ms. M (Pensacola, Fl) on 01/10/2016

[YEA]  I had watery eyes all throughout the day and into the night. I woke up in the middle of the night with a pressure sensation and inability to keep eyes open without discomfort. Looked in the mirror to find one eye extremely red; the other only mildly red. I knew immediately that this was viral conjunctivitis, as my mom had been suffering from it for about 5 days. We had done everything to prevent transmission, but it still happened and I was panicking, as I needed to go to work in the morning.

So I desperately began searching for a home remedy, and found the apple cider vinegar remedy on this site. It appeared to be the most popular one, so I gave it a try.

I warmed 1/2 cup spring water, added 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (MUST be raw, "with the mother"), and stirred for a few seconds. I dipped a cotton ball (one for each eye) in the solution, and with eyes closed, dabbed the solution at the inside and outside corners of each eye. I also squeezed the cotton ball a little, to allow some of the solution to flow over my eyelashes. It didn't burn until I opened my eyes. The burn was significant, but not very long-lasting.

I laid down on the couch with my eyes closed until 5am, at which point I got up to start the process of calling in sick. Before making any calls, I checked my eyes in the mirror....... to my EXTREME SURPRISE, the redness was COMPLETELY GONE. I was in disbelief. I went to work, and then repeated the apple cider vinegar treatment again before going to bed that evening. I did it again the next morning, just to be safe, and my husband did it as a precautionary measure as well. It worked. Our daughter didn't get it, either. My mom had tried colloidal silver and raw honey; none of which worked for her.

I highly recommend apple cider vinegar at first sign!!!!

Posted by Hannah (Centennial, Colorado) on 06/13/2015

[YEA]  Yesterday morning I woke up with a bad case of pink eye. I get pink eye a few times a year so by now, I know when I have it. Neither of my parents were in town so I couldn't go get medicine And I had a rather large event happening that night, thankfully I found earth clinic. I tried the ACV treatment and although it burned like hell, it worked its magic and by that night you almost couldn't tell I had ever had pink eye. Before I put in the ACV I would rinse my eye out with black tea, and treated my eye about 3 times. Today I keep treating it just to make sure it's gone but I am extremely thankful I found this site, it saved me!

Posted by Shalita (Jackson) on 05/02/2015

[YEA]  This is from the Bragg's apple cider vinegar book: 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar to 4oz of distilled water. page 71 "Apple Cider Vinegar." I boiled the distilled water, let it cool, add acv, then place in sterilized dropper or eye cup and submerge affected eye. Cleanse 2 to 3 times daily.

Posted by Mlafay (Portland, Or) on 03/29/2015

[YEA]  I've had viral conjunctivitis for a couple month's now. My doc said there was nothing out there that would "cure" it and to just let it run it's course - up to 3 months!

I just did the 5:1 ratio with ACV and it burned like hell for about 30 seconds - and wa-la! My vision cleared up - been blurry ever since I contracted this. And my redness went down considerably. I am so thankful I found this remedy!!

Posted by Ava R (St. Petersburg, Fl) on 02/20/2015

[YEA]  I had Pink eye and I had just changed Drs. So, my new Dr. would not prescribe me anything. Well, I did the ACV and water four times a day. I also used the green tea bags twice a day to help with the soreness and I wash my hands a lot and I cleaned my glasses with the ACV, to make sure I would not get it again. It took a little over a week, but I think it took that long because I look at a computer working, at least 7 hours a day. I LOVE this website.

Posted by Sunny (Ca) on 07/30/2014

[YEA]  Yes! it works!

My lil bro had an eye infection, I don't know what kind, maybe pink eye? It was really swollen. So I got the ACV the top part, ( not shucked, stable, so that I do not get the mother, and a mixed in a bit of drinking clean water in a mug, then maybe 40 acv, 60 water. Try your own, the more ACV the more the burn, but the more the potency.

We put it in an clean drop dropper, and I applied to his eye. Yes it stung, muaaahahah. But he took it like a man. I told him to apply twice + a day. It took off in like 4 days.

He did not have to spend money on going to the Dr. :) , and I got to experiment with his eye :). It was a win win lol. I have to say I was a bit unsure about it. Because well, its the eye.... But not anymore, if I ever have an eye infection, I will not hesitate to put it on my eye. :)

If your are scared, you can apply to out lid, I guess.

ACV rocks! I love you Earth Clinic <3

Reply to this if it works for you



Posted by Loretta (New Jersey, US) on 04/26/2014

[YEA]  I had gotten some water splashed in my eyes while teaching a student how to wash their face... anyway.... my eye started itching the next day. Then two days later both eyes were goopy, swollen and itchy.... I have followed the instructions on this post and have been using the Apple Cider Vinegar for two days now. My eyes are still a little itchy day two however when I woke up this morning they weren't as goopy, swollen or itchy as the days prior. I see a big improvement. Also the eye that originally got splashed with water is no longer pink. I will continue to do this the rest of today and tomorrow so it will be a full 3 days like several people posted. I am so happy to not have had to go to the eye doctor and spend money I don't have and get antibiotics! Thanks!

Posted by Mrsg (Fl , Usa ) on 11/22/2013

[YEA]  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.

Posted by Melba Toast (Alfred Station, Ny) on 10/12/2013

[YEA]  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!

Posted by Kathy (La) on 08/06/2013

[YEA]  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.

Posted by Nathalie (West Orange, NJ, Usa) on 04/30/2013

[YEA]  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!!!!!

Posted by Doddie (Lawrenceville, Georgia, Usa) on 04/24/2013

[YEA]  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.