Seeing your little one squinting and squirming with discomfort in their eyes is usually not a pleasant experience. If your kid has woken up with swollen eyes, crusted closed with thick discharge, what are you going to do to get rid of pink eye?

Despite a strict regime of personal hygiene, kids are often the first ones to fall prey to a pink eye infection or conjunctivitis as it’s called. When it goes around, even adults can catch it fast and easy. Understanding this condition will help you better protect yourself and your family.


Conjunctivitis is basically inflammation in the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of your eyelids and the white portion of the eyeballs, which helps keep your eyelids and eyeballs moist.

get rid of pink eye

Causes of Pink Eye

  • Chief causes of pink eye include bacterial and viral infections. Allergies and exposure to chemicals can also produce pink eye symptoms. (1)
  • Viral pink eye is more common, as it is extremely contagious and spreads easily from person to person. While the symptoms cause discomfort, it’s not as harmful and goes away on its own in about a week when the virus has run its course.
  • Bacterial pink eye, also contagious, is less common but more stubborn due to antibiotic-resistant strains.
  • Pink eye is considered contagious for about 2 weeks from the time the symptoms begin to show.
  • Allergy-induced pink eye is not contagious and is caused by exposure to allergens like pollens, dust mites, pet dander, royal jelly or chemicals. (1)

Symptoms of Pink Eye

  • Redness, itching and tearing up of the eyes are the main symptoms of pink eye. The eyes may feel gritty and sandy. (1)
  • Bacterial pink eye is often accompanied by a thick, greenish-yellow discharge, while a watery discharge marks the viral and allergy-induced pink eye. The discharge may crust overnight, sticking the eyelids shut.
  • Allergy-induced pink eye and viral pink eye often appear similar. While the former affects both the eyes simultaneously, the latter will shift from one eye to the other as the infection spreads

How to Prevent Pink Eye

  • Early diagnosis can help prevent pink eye from spreading.
  • Observing stellar personal hygiene and regular hand washing will help protect yourself if you’re around someone who has it or limits the chance of it spreading if you’re the one infected. (1)
  • Those infected should not share towels, washcloths or pillows with family members to prevent the infection from spreading to others.
  • Take precaution to protect yourself in the allergy season.
  • Avoid using eye makeup, as infected makeup can re-infect you. Don’t share your eye makeup with an infected person.
  • Same goes for contact lenses, containers, and solutions. Avoid using them and sharing them when pink eye is going around.
  • Protect your eyes from exposure to chemicals and pollutants, harsh elements of nature like wind and extreme heat or cold, and dirt to prevent pink eye due to an allergic reaction.

How to Treat Pink Eye

Now that you’ve got a good understanding of pink eye let’s move on to the treatment options. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for bacterial pink eye and antihistamines for allergy-induced pink eye.

Keep in mind, that the treatment needed is determined on the cause of the eye infection. Seeing your physician for a diagnosis first is important. Once a cause is identified, home remedies may be used to treat conjunctivitis symptoms. Most of these remedies are natural and have long been trusted.


So take your pick of the given home remedies and get ready to get rid of pink eye (conjunctivitis) without antibiotics.

Method 1: Turmeric Compress

Curcumin is a polyphenol found in the plant or spice known as turmeric. Recent studies have found the plant to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing effects. It has even been found to be effective in the treatment of conjunctivitis. (2)

Single-Step Treatment: Apply turmeric compress to the pink eye

turmeric compress

  • Boil water and allow to cool until warm.
  • Pour water into a cup and mix with turmeric.
  • Place a clean cloth in the mixture for 1-2 minutes and wring out excess.
  • Place a cloth on eyes and use as a warm compress.

Method 2: Honey Eye Drops

Honey is an amazing substance that not only tastes great but has many medicinal uses for those interested in natural remedies. One of those uses includes the treatment of conjunctivitis.

Studies have shown that honey has an antimicrobial effect on many of the common bacteria that cause pink eye, and can even help in reducing symptoms such as redness, swelling, and pus discharge. (3)(5)

Single-Step Treatment: Put a few drops of this eye drop in the pink eye

honey eye drops

  • Boil water and allow to cool until warm.
  • Pour water into a cup and dissolve honey into the water.
  • Using a clean dropper, place 1-2 drops in the affected eye 3-4 times a day.

Method 3: Cool Compress

Cool compresses are a great way to treat pink eye symptoms. They can help quell the feeling of irritation and discomfort. Specifically for allergic conjunctivitis, when used in combination with artificial tears, this can cause significant relief. (4)

Single-Step Treatment: Apply the cold compress to the affected eye

cold compress for pink eyes

  • Soak a clean cloth in cold water.
  • Wring out excess water.
  • Place the cloth on affected eyes and hold it there until cloth becomes warm.
  • Repeat as necessary.

Additional helpful tips

  • When wiping the eyes or applying a compress, use a clean cloth or cotton pad for each eye for minimizing the chance of spreading the infection from one eye to the other.
  • Always use sterile water for preparing an eyewash or rinse to prevent any chances of further infection. Use boiled water to make the rinse and let it cool down.


  1. Azari AA, Barney NP. Conjunctivitis: a systematic review of diagnosis and treatment. JAMA. Published October 23, 2013.
  2. Liu X-F, Hao J-L, Xie T, et al. Curcumin, A Potential Therapeutic Candidate for Anterior Segment Eye Diseases: A Review. Frontiers in pharmacology. Published February 14, 2017.
  3. Al-Waili NS. Investigating the antimicrobial activity of natural honey and its effects on the pathogenic bacterial infections of surgical wounds and conjunctiva. Journal of medicinal food. Published 2004.
  4. Bilkhu PS, Wolffsohn JS, Naroo SA, Robertson L, Kennedy R. Effectiveness of nonpharmacologic treatments for acute seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Ophthalmology. Published January 2014.
  5. Salehi A, Jabarzare S, Neurmohamadi M, Kheiri S, Rafieian-Kopaei M. A double-blind clinical trial on the efficacy of honey drop in vernal keratoconjunctivitis. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM. Published 2014.