This is absolutely the fastest, easiest, cheapest pink eye remedy I’ve ever found. This post is a little long – feel free to skim it. But it’s definitely worth the read!
I didn’t go to bed last night thinking I’d be out there Googling a good home remedy for pink eye this morning.
Nope, not one bit.
I was thinking about how hard it is to get back on schedule after a holiday weekend. And I was thinking that having a mild cold over said holiday weekend wasn’t exactly my idea of a good time.
Even in the middle of the night when I just barely woke up enough to rub some crusty gunk out of my eye, I was only able to think in a sleepy stupor, “Ew, what is up with that?”
It wasn’t until I was fully awake this morning (thank you, faithful alarm clock), that I finally had a sinking feeling in my stomach and I thought, “Oh no!”
Yup. Pink eye. Good ole conjunctivitis.
Gooky. Crusty. Icky.
Sorry, but it’s the not-so-pretty reality I faced this morning. And seeing as how I have some birthday shenanigans planned for later this evening for my daughter, the last thing I wanted was to show up with a crusty, bloodshot eye. It was time to find a quick and effective pink eye remedy.
I mean, is it just me, or is there something extra icky about pink eye?
It’s been about ten years since I had conjunctivitis last time (babies, lots of fingers wandering into eyeballs, etc.), but I remembered it clearly. (Spoiler alert: it was awful.)
I also remembered that this isn’t something that needs to be medically treated unless it’s particularly bad or painful.
So I wanted a good natural remedy for pink eye that didn’t involve anything truly wacky. I mean, I’m not going to put garlic paste in my eye, or any other food substance for that matter. I’m one of those weird people who wants to keep their eyesight intact.
I like the simple and common sense approach, science-based if at all possible.
I started Googling and stumbled across a pink eye remedy that just clicked with me:
Research on Iodine as a Home Remedy for Pink Eye
I’m a big fan of iodine for many reasons. So when I saw that iodine was a possible home remedy for pink eye, I wanted to learn more.
I like me some science, so of course I wanted to see how using iodine for pink eye panned out in a research setting. Here are some studies I found about iodine as a pink eye remedy:
- This study from 2002 shows that a 1.25% solution of iodine works as well as standard treatment for bacterial conjunctivitis.
- This article details more research on a 5% iodine solution swabbed on all four eyelids with good results.
- This study provides a very comprehensive look at iodine as a disinfectant for the eyes.
To quote the last study above, povidone-iodine is ideal for very specific reasons:
- In the appropriate concentration, it is not toxic to the eye as are other iodine bearing compounds
- It has a very broad antimicrobial spectrum, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, given enough contact time in vitro
- Resistance by bacteria is rare for this pink eye remedy
- The medication turns the eye brown for a few minutes proving that it has been applied
- It is widely available as a solution or powder; and so it is available throughout the world in some form
- Finally, especially important for use in developing areas, it is not expensive
How I used this Home Remedy for Pink Eye
I keep a big bottle of povidone-iodine in my medicine cabinet, because as I said, I love iodine.
My solution is 10% povidone-iodine, which is a much higher concentration than was used in any of the studies I saw. Researchers noted that a stronger solution was more likely to sting, so I decided to play it safe and dilute. I diluted to a 2.5% solution (about 1 part 10% iodine to 3 parts water — I believe using a saline solution to dilute is more ideal, however).
(Note: I do take iodine internally, but this particular iodine is not meant to be taken internally. I only use Lugol’s for internal consumption. More on that in an upcoming post.)
- I use a cotton swab to swipe the solution over my upper and lower lid.
- I used separate swabs for each eye in order to avoid cross infection.
- Only one eye is infected right now, but since it’s so common for the infection to spread, I’m treating both eyes as a precautionary measure.
- You can rinse the iodine away after 60 seconds to avoid staining, but since I am home for most of the day, I didn’t bother rinsing. I didn’t experience any noticable staining at this dilution.
- I know from experience that at this dilution, there is little staining and it rinses away easily with water (your mileage may vary).
- I’m applying several times a day so far (four times a day was the standard for the larger study).
My Pink Eye Remedy Results
I noticed a HUGE difference after the first application.
Immediately, the goopy ickiness was gone and the irritation subsided. I was amazed at how instant the effect was.
I’ve applied the iodine solution to my lids a few times since early this morning, and I’m virtually symptom-free. My eye is slightly pink from the earlier irritation, but hasn’t gotten any worse since this morning and perhaps even looks a little better. I doubt anyone could tell from looking at me that I have the dreaded pink eye (whew!).
I plan to continue applying for at least 3 days to make sure the infection is completely gone (conjunctivitis usually resolves in about 2-5 days anyway). Obviously, I’ll be taking the typical precautions against spreading the infection, such as not touching my eye, washing my hands frequently, etc.
I’ll come back and update this post to let you know how the rest of the treatment went!
Day 2: I awoke this morning still pretty much symptom-free. I honestly can’t believe how quickly this pink eye remedy is working. I was worried that several hours without reapplying the iodine might allow the infection to return a little bit. But I was relieved this morning to wake up with absolutely zero ickiness or crusty stuff hanging out around my eye. My eye is slightly pink but about 50% improved from yesterday. Yay!
I’ll continue to apply the iodine for a couple more days to be safe, but at this point, I’m pretty confident and definitely pleased!
Day 3: All clear this morning! I can’t tell if my eye is still pink at all now, so on the conservative side, I would say there’s a 90% improvement at least. More good news: my other eye never showed signs of infection! That’s a relief. I’ll continue to apply at least twice a day for the next two days to be safe, but I think I’m in the clear at this point.
Day 8: This is my last update just to confirm that all is well. I stopped using the iodine treatments 3 days ago and haven’t had any signs of conjunctivitis symptoms. My other eye has remained clear as well. This natural pink eye remedy is a WIN.
This is a big win for me and I’m excited to share it with you. I’m pretty much a skeptic until I see something working in the real world, so I’m pretty impressed with my iodine results (though not exactly surprised). Please share this remedy if you find it helpful!
Obviously, I’m not a doctor. I’m not here to diagnose or recommend treatment. Please note that it’s always been recommended to use iodine as a conjunctivitis treatment under the supervision of a physician. Please keep that in mind and use common sense. If you have a baby or child with pink eye, please work with their doctor if you want to try any home remedies. Also, please do your research and understand the different types of conjunctivitis. Viral and allergic conjunctivitis cannot be treated the same way as bacterial conjunctivitis. Some infections can be serious and cause damage to the eyes, so always use caution and common sense, and see a physician if you have any doubts.
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Elizabeth is the founder of The Nourished Life and has been writing about natural living for 12 years. Her work has been featured at Shape, Bustle, and Mother Earth Living. Her mission is to help you lower your stress levels and find fun ways to become happier and healthier. Read more about Elizabeth here.