Pink eye (also known as conjunctivitis) can be a really irritating infection. It’s also highly contagious and can be spread very easily to surrounding people. The infection is self is not a serious health risk, but nonetheless it is worth getting rid of conjunctivitis. There are some very practical ways to reduce the irritating symptoms of conjunctivitis and reducing the duration of the infection by using essential oils for pink eye.
What is Pink Eye?
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva which is the outermost layer of the eye. Pink eye will usually last a few days before the body successfully fights it off. Sometimes it can last up to two weeks. Despite this, there is no serious health risk. However, it will be mildly irritating at best and a hell of a pain at worst. Essential oils help relieve symptoms of pink eye and can speed up the healing process.
There are various causes of pink eye and all of them cause the characteristic bloodshot eyes. One of the most common forms of pink eye is viral conjunctivitis which often spreads via infections of the respiratory tract (e.g. common colds or flu). It is therefore just an extension of inflammation elsewhere in the body and usually passes after a few days but can last for longer.
A different form of pink eye is bacterial conjunctivitis. The main difference to its viral cousin is that this type of inflammation also produces pus. This is often noticeable after sleep as the eye can be crusted shut.
Conjunctivitis can also appear as a form of allergic reaction. In conjunction with other allergic bodily reactions (such as itchy nose / throat), the inflammation increases the production of tears.
A couple of things to note: If you have conjunctivitis in one eye (in the case of bacterial and viral pink eye), it can spread to the other eye. However, this can be prevented by not touching the infected eye or cleansing your hands each time the infected eye is touched. As such, pink eye can also easily spread to people in your environment.
Remember to disinfect your hands if the infected eye is touched. And don’t touch your own eyes if people around you appear to have conjunctivitis.
Pink Eye Symptoms
Symptoms of pink eye often include the following:
– red eye
– swelling of eye lid
– feeling of foreign object(s) inside eye
– light sensitivity
– pus production and ‘crusty eyes’ after sleep ( usually only in bacterial conjunctivitis)
So now we know what the cause and symptoms of pink eye are, let’s see what we can use to help the eye heal.
Essential Oils for Pink Eye
Pink eye can be cured naturally with essential oils. The anti-inflammatory properties of essential oils as well as anti-bacterial and anti-viral nature speed up the healing process. Since eyes are very sensitive it is important to not let any of the essential oils go into the eye, as this will do more harm than good.
This essential oil is an all time favourite of mine. Originally from Australia and used by the aboriginal people there for thousands of years to treat ailments, tea tree oil is anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Moreover it is also anti-inflammatory and therefore is the best essential oil to get rid of pink eye. Tea Tree oil applied topically will enter blood vessels and help to fight the cause of pink eye.
Lavender oil is one of the most used essential oils out there. Of the many benefits the oil provides, the most valuable for conjunctivitis is its calming as well as anti-inflammatory characteristic. It is also supportive for the immune system. Topical application (in diluted form) to the area around the eye will seep through the layers of thin skin and act as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-septic agent.
Roman Chamomile hydrolat is anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. Moreover it is a calming agent and can soothe itchy skin. As such, it is a great aid in combating allergic reaction. It is important to use the gentler hydrolat as opposed to essential oil which may be too strong.
Hydrolats undergo a different process to essential oils. Hydrolats are less concentrated than essential oils and are therefore gentler and softer in aroma. Some companies add ethanol to hydrolats in order to preserve shelf life. It is important to avoid these kind of products as they can dry out the skin.
Pink Eye Healing Methods
As mentioned earlier, these methods are applied to the skin surrounding the eye. The skin around the eye socket is very thin and any liquids absorbed through this skin will enter the blood vessels. As such any topical application of essential oils is perfectly suited to combat any viral or bacterial causes of pink eye. The anti-inflammatory essential oil properties are also great to relieve pink eye symptoms.
Topical Application with Tea Tree Oil / Lavender Oil
This is a very simple recipe using Tea Tree Oil or Lavender Oil as the main ingredient. Either works or you could try combining both. The essential oils will mainly aid in combating the bacteria/virus and soothe the symtoms. It’s recommended to repeat this method twice a day.
– Pour your selected carrier oil (jojoba or coconut oil) into a non-reactive bowl
– Add your selected essential oil
– Stir well
– Dip clean finger or cotton bud into mixture and apply to area around the eye. Make sure if applying on the eye lid that it won’t drip into the eye.
– Leave on for 15-20min
– Make sure you wash your hands after touching the area around the eye.
Note: If both eyes are infected, make two batches as you otherwise risk transferring bacteria/ the virus between the eyes. Always wash your hands afterwards.
Topical Cloth Application with Roman Chamomile Hydrolat
This method is somewhat gentler than using the essential oils (method #1) although the hydrolat has similar effects. It is worth mentioning again that many commercially available hydrolats have ethanol added as a preservative. It is best (for your skin and eyes) if you can get your hands on some ethanol-free roman chamomile hydrolat.
– Roman Chamomile Hydrolat ( 1 teaspoon / 5mL)
– Lukewarm water ( 6 teaspoons / 30mL)
– Non-reactive bowl
– Clean cloth
– Pour lukewarm water into the non-reactive bowl
– Add the Roman Chamomile hydrolat and stir well
– Soak cloth in solution and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.
– Place cloth over closed eye(s) for 10 minutes
– Turn cloth over and place over eye(s) for another 10 minutes
Repeat this daily or as often as you see fit.
Note: Make sure there is no solution dripping from the cloth as it should under NO circumstance get into your eyes. Wash the cloth thoroughly after use. You don’t want to expose the virus/bacteria to yourself after you have gotten rid of pink eye.
Essential Oil for Pink Eye Summary
Hopefully you will manage to get rid of pink eye quickly. As I mentioned it’s not a serious health issue but can be rather unpleasant. If you have found this article helpful, please share it with friends and family via the social media buttons below.