Pinkeye: The Fastest and Easiest Home Remedy| Updated: Aug 22, 2018
Symptoms of Pinkeye
Symptoms of pinkeye include redness, itching, tearing, swelling, and/or mucous production that can firmly cement the eyelids together while sleeping. I remember getting pinkeye as a child and feeling a bit of panic upon waking in the morning and being unable to open one or both eyes! If this happens to you or a loved one in your home, a warm, wet washcloth compress gently applied to the infected eye (do not rub) quickly dissolves the mucous allowing the eyes to open.
Pinkeye is Extremely Contagious
Pinkeye can spread rapidly through a household, which is why action is needed immediately to stop the infection. Most people will quickly run to the doctor’s office at the first sign of redness and irritation.
A prescription for antibiotic eye drops or ointment is the usual conventional remedy. Relief is mercifully quick once the drops are applied. Before the wonderful sensation of relief can be experienced, however, the inconvenience of booking a doctor’s appointment, waiting to be examined, driving to the pharmacy, and getting the prescription filled must be endured. Additional hassles involve missing work and/or school for the parent and child. Add to this the expense of the visit and filling the prescription which combined could easily total $50 or even more.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just fix this simple infection at home with none of the intervening steps?
Simple Pinkeye Home Remedy
You’ll be happy to know that pinkeye is one of the simplest and easiest infections to cure at home with no trip to the doctor required. Even better, what you need to fix the problem may already be sitting in your refrigerator. The remedy I’m speaking of harnesses the power of beneficial bacteria to eliminate the infection.
While doctors prescribe ANTI-biotics to kill the pathogens, PRO-biotics work just as well for a minor infection such as pinkeye by crowding them out.
Conjunctivitis: Harness the Power of Probiotics
What you need to remedy pinkeye is a probiotic-rich, non-acidic liquid. For babies and children, the most effective liquid that fits this description is human breastmilk. If the Mom in your household happens to be breastfeeding, a drop or two of breastmilk expressed into a cup and then applied with a clean eyedropper (like this one) to the infected eye will rapidly and magically eliminate the infection. First milk or colostrum works even faster (note that colostrum supplements do not work).
Reapplication may be necessary every hour for a few hours, but in most every case, the infection will be gone well before you could have even gotten an appointment to see the doctor. This remedy works well for newborn babies also, so no need for the eyedrops that are used immediately after birth if you plan to breastfeed.
The Pinkeye Remedy Anyone Can Use
If there is no one breastfeeding in your home, the next best thing would be a few drops of raw cow or goat milk applied to each eye. I recommend treating both eyes even if only one is showing signs of infection, by the way. Pinkeye is so contagious, that treating only the infected eye will usually result in having to treat the other eye within a short time anyway, so might as well do both from the beginning.
Raw cow or goat milk is loaded with immunity boosting probiotics, just like human breastmilk. These beneficial bacteria work immediately on contact to crowd out and eliminate the pathogens at the source of the infection. The probiotic strains in raw dairy are especially suited for clearing a pinkeye infection.
Reapplication every hour or so should eliminate the infection quickly, perhaps not quite as fast as breastmilk, but still faster by a long shot than getting to the doctor and filling a prescription.
Liquid Whey Clears Up Pinkeye Too
If you do not have easy access to raw milk in your community, don’t worry. There is an option available at any supermarket that works too! The clear, liquid part of yogurt or kefir known as whey is a great stand-in for raw milk in a pinch.
Yogurt and kefir are cultured with beneficial bacterial strains. Carefully applying a few drops of the liquid whey from these cultured dairy products into the eyes will produce the same “crowding out” effect of the pathogens. A small amount of yogurt or kefir mixed in with the liquid is fine. The whey does not need to be perfectly clear to be effective.
Note that powdered whey or whey protein powder mixed with water does NOT work. This is because there are no live probiotics in such a heavily processed and denatured food. Pasteurized or organic store milk also does not work for the same reason.
Getting Pinkeye A Lot? You Need This Supplement
Deficiency in vitamin A, one of the most critical vitamins for optimal eye health, can result in frequent pinkeye infections. Incidentally, it also contributes to other illnesses such as croup and night blindness.
Raw cod liver oil is the best source of a healthy dose of natural vitamin A. Just be sure that any brand you buy is low heat processed. Some cod liver oil brands on the market surprisingly have little vitamin A. This is because it has been destroyed by heat or chemical processing. Worse, synthetic vitamin A is typically added back in! Synthetic vitamin A does not have the same benefits for eyes as natural forms.
Multivitamins have the same problem. They contain only synthetic vitamin A or beta carotene. Note that beta carotene is not true vitamin A. It is a precursor that the body must convert to true vitamin A. Many people simply do not make this conversion very well especially if they have any sort of digestive problems.
The pinkeye home remedy described in this article should resolve the infection rapidly. Usually symptoms resolve within 24 hours. If not, the infection may be viral in nature or related to some other underlying condition. Seeing a doctor immediately is recommended at that point.
Does This Pink Eye Remedy Work for Adults?
Keep in mind that this pinkeye home remedy doesn’t just work for children. It works very well for adults too. In fact, my husband just used it the other day to quickly clear up a case he had developed over the weekend.
Believe it or not, this home remedy is also safe to use on pets who have any sort of eye related bacterial issues. I’ve personally used it on guinea pigs and cats over the years with great success.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.