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How to Treat and Prevent Pink Eye Symptoms: Apple Cider Vinegar Cure and Other Natural Therapies for Madras Eye

Updated on August 11, 2012

Pink eye or conjunctivitis affects millions of people in North America. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva which is the outer protective layer of the cornea. Pink eye symptoms include eyes stuck together upon waking in the morning, the feeling of sand being caught in the eye and red, itchy, sore eyes that may also have a sticky, gritty discharge.

Conventional treatment for pink eye has been the use of antibiotics. However, growing concerns of serious health risks associated with overuse of antibiotics has prompted the search for effective alternative treatments. Another drawback of using antibiotics is that they only are able to treat infections caused by bacteria. A majority of pink eye infections today are viral in nature.

There are many herbs that can be used both internally and externally, that have been found to be effective treatment for conjunctivitis. Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are extremely contagious and therefore immediate treatment should be administered and precautions taken to prevent its spread to others.

Hands should be washed several times daily and kleenex used when coughing or sneezing. Contact with eyes should be prevented and contact with others limited as much as possible. Chlorinated pools, contact lenses and eye makeup should be avoided and the pillowcase should be changed daily until the infection has passed.

There are several health conditions that can trigger the onset of pink eye symptoms which include allergies, the common cold, staph infections, herpes virus, eye injury, chemicals, animal dander and the measles. Prolonged exposure to sunlamps have also been known to cause conjunctivitis.

Other factors that contribute to pink eye symptoms are chlorine from swimming pools, smoke, dust, air pollution and wind. People who wear contact lenses may want to ensure there lenses are being adequately cleaned each day if pink eye infections are recurrent. Chronic conjunctivitis is a serious health condition that can cause permanent damage to the eyes. If the condition is persistent it may be linked to an underlying health condition. Usually this is found to be rheumatic arthritis or lupus.

As soon as pink eye symptoms develop, sufferers should drink herbal teas daily until the condition has passed and make sure water intake is at least eight glasses per day. Herbs useful for external use include marigold, rose petals, raspberry leaves, vervain, elderflowers, camomile, marshmallow root and witch hazel. Useful herbal teas include honeysuckle flower, chrysanthemum, bamboo leaves, selfheal flowers. These herbs can also be used as an eyewash. An eyewash can also be made from apple cider vinegar and distilled water, which is effective at easing the pain caused by pink eye.

Herbs for internal use include garlic, echinacea, myrrh, and greater celandine. Combinations combine powerful antiseptic, antiviral, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Goldenseal is also effective but should be used alone. Vitamins and minerals needed for immune support and healing include A, B2, C, E and zinc.

Bilberry can also be used to help restore eyes to a healthy state. Prevention is always the best medicine. Once pink eye symptoms have passed, always avoid substances from diet and environment that contribute to the condition and eat a healthy diet to strengthen the immune system and prevent future occurrences.


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      yellyellow 7 years ago

      hi, i have had this problem once and made up a homeremedy of using onions and honey combined to form some drops. the result became very eratic and my right eye permanently bulged and sort of different from the other eye. wat to do reg this?i did not tell my opthamal regarding this usage and then on used the steroid drops he suggested and got over this problem only after one month.i was exposed to such prolonged usage. what are its side effects?kindly answer me.

    • profile image

      siddhu 7 years ago


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      lasik surgeons 7 years ago

      Washing your hands frequently, and avoid touching the corners of your eye or rubbing your eye will help you avoid having pink eye.

    • electricsky profile image

      electricsky 7 years ago from North Georgia

      Thanks for the helpful naturopathic alternative treatments.

      One other at-home treatment I have used is colloidal silver drops which can be purchased without a doctor prescription and instilled in the eye. I use Life Plus Colloidal Silver drops when I feel an eye infection starting up.

      Saline rinses are comforting too. This product can be purchased at a drug store.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for the comments everyone!

      Eonsaway, sorry I don't have any recommendations right now.

      Jim, thanks for sharing. Apple cider vinegar and honey makes a powerful combination.

    • jim10 profile image

      jim10 8 years ago from ma

      I wear contacts and have gotten this a few times. The first time my doctor gave me steroid drops and it took me 4 days to clear it up. I have since made my own eye wash using honey some warm water to melt the honey and some organic apple cider vinegar. This clears it up immediately and I just rinse my eyes with it for a day or two and wear glasses. The vinegar can sting a little but, it works great.

    • eonsaway profile image

      eonsaway 8 years ago from New Mexico, USA

      I will have to show this to my friend she gets pink eye frequently. I need a up-to-date herb book, the last one I bought was 'The New Age Herbalist' by Richard Mabey. Can you recommend one?

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comments everyone!

      Casi, the whole idea behind alternative treatments is to strengthen the whole body including the immune system. Antibiotics destroy intestinal flora which weakens the immune system and which eventually leads to many health problem. Even doctors who prescribe antibiotics understand the health risks involved and only prescribe them when they feel it is absolutely necessary. If you feel that antibiotics are the only answer for you, I suggest you supplement with probiotic acidophilus to restore lost bacteria. This bacteria is essential to wellness of being.

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      casi 8 years ago

      Your natural remedies may very well work for some but there are still others who have a weakened immune system like myself so I suggest that people can try to cure it themselves first but if it persists get in to see your doctor! Antibiotics are a Godsend to a lot of people who would have no hope.

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      Steve Orris 8 years ago

      Awesome info. I like that you focus on herbs, not medicine. I'm bookmarking this page.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Timely hub, my son has just got a case of this horrible complaint, thanks for the advice.

    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 8 years ago from Mangalore, India

      This is a common occurrence in India during summer months and people somehow connect it with the mango season. It is popularly known here as Madras Eye...