Having an eye infection can be really irritating, and while in serious cases you should seek medical attention, there are some instances where home remedies for eye infection can be helpful.
About one million Americans visit doctors for eye infections every year. An eye infection can happen to anyone and it can impact any part of the eye, including the inner or outer eyelid as well as the eyeball. Research shows that people who wear contact lenses are more prone to eye infections but those who have never used contacts can be exposed to bacterial, viral, or fungal infections or get a foreign object in their eye that can cause irritation and damage.
When you get an eye infection, you may experience redness around the eyelids, discharge from the eye, itchy eyes, watery eyes, and possibly swelling around the eye.
Home Remedies for Eye Infection
When someone has the symptoms described above, it is natural for them to wonder how to get rid of an eye infection. There are many different home remedies for eye infections that can be used for mild cases. We can’t emphasize how important it is to understand, that when it comes to how to get rid of an eye infection, a doctor should see severe cases.
If you’re looking for the best home remedy for eye infections, you have to take into account that there are different types of infection. This means that one home remedy for eye infection might not work but another could.
Here’s how to get rid of eye infections with home remedies based on the type of infection.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) is an eye infection that includes inflammation and reddening of the tissue that covers the front of the eye, which is called the conjunctiva. Usually, it causes watery eyes and itchiness and is due to a bacterial or viral infection. Sometimes conjunctivitis can occur due to an allergic reaction, such as a reaction to pollen or dust mites.
- Warm compresses: The heat from a warm compress increases blood circulation to the area to promote conjunctivitis healing. It can also help reduce the pain and swelling associated with conjunctivitis, making it a good eye infection cure at home. One cautionary note though — if you have conjunctivitis in both eyes, use separate compresses for each eye.
- Honey: Studies suggest that honey is one of the better conjunctivitis home remedies because it seems to reduce redness, swelling, discharge of pus, and the time it takes for the bacterial infection to clear up. Honey is thought to have antibacterial properties. The common application process calls for a few teaspoons of honey to be dissolved in two cups of boiling water. You let it cool slightly and then apply the mixture around the affected eye.
- Euphrasia: This is a subgroup of over 400 flowering plants. Also called eyebright, one study indicated that euphrasia eye drops used to treat conjunctivitis cured 81.5 percent of sufferers while 17 percent showed noticeable improvement. Euphrasia is believed to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Eye drops made from euphrasia have been used in medicine for more than 70 years. With conjunctivitis, a dosage of one drop three times a day is the most common recommendation.
- Cucumber: This is a good natural treatment for eye infection because it has anti-inflammatory and analgesic substances. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that cucumber helps people with conjunctivitis.
Also read: Essential oils for pink eye (conjunctivitis): How to cure pink eye at home
Styes are little lumps on your eyelids that can be irritating and painful. These lumps are usually the result of Staphylococcus bacteria that live on our skin. Sometimes they get better on their own without any treatment while other times they can be a little stubborn and take a lot of time to completely disappear.
- Warm compress: Holding a warm compress on an eye that has a stye for about five to ten minutes and then massaging the area can help. This can release pus and allow the stye to clear up. Applying a warm compress three to four times a day is the best natural cure for eye infection in this case.
- Clove: Due to its oils, which contain a compound with antiseptic and pain-relieving properties, clove is a good natural eye infection remedy. It can be a little tricky to apply since you have to rub a clove with water on a rough surface to grind it into a paste and then apply it to the stye without getting any into your eye.
- Epsom salt: Since it works as an astringent and cleanser, it is a viable option for treating styes at home. All you need is one cup of water and one teaspoon of Epsom salt, along with a washcloth. You soak the cloth in the salt and water mixture and place it on the affected eye for about 15 minutes. For best results, apply it three to four times a day.
- Tea bags: This is considered one of the stye home remedies because tea bags contain soothing properties that can reduce inflammation and irritation in and around the eye. Tea bags can also help drain pus. Studies on green tea suggest it contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help treat several different skin disorders. All you have to do is dip a tea bag in water for about five minutes, press the excess moisture out, and place the bag on your eye for a few minutes.
Blepharitis is a condition that occurs when glands near the eyelids produce too much oil. As a result, eyelids become inflamed at the edges, which can create sore, reddish, itchy eyelids that stick together. Crusted eyelashes are a common feature of blepharitis. Severe cases may require antibiotics but milder cases can be treated with home remedies. There are a couple different blepharitis home remedies.
- Tea tree oil: It helps address the underlying cause of blepharitis and can relieve inflammation and itching. One 2012 study in the Journal of Korean Medical Science stated that tea tree oil for blepharitis caused by Demodex mites can be an effective treatment. Mixing two or three drops of the oil in a tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil and then dipping a cotton swap in the solution is the best approach. You simply close your eyes and wipe the cotton swap across the ends of your eyelashes and then further down. You have to keep your eyes closed for about five minutes.
- Castor oil: The ricinoleic acid in castor oil acts as an anti-inflammatory. It helps relieve itching, burning, and pain linked to blepharitis. After washing your eyes with lukewarm water, you can use a cotton swab to apply castor oil before going to bed. In the morning, rinse your eyes with warm water. If you’re considering castor oil for blepharitis, it is best to purchase pure, organic hexane-free castor oil.
Also read: How to get rid of blepharitis naturally
Cellulitis of the eyelid is an infection of the tissue around the eye. It is a bacterial infection. While a warm compress might help a little with symptoms of inflammation, it is usually treated with a round of antibiotics. Keratitis, an inflammatory condition that impacts the cornea, and Dacryocystitis, an infection of the tear sac in the inner corner of the eye are also treated with antibiotics.
Some Other Home Remedies for Eye Infection
Here are a few other home remedies, including some herbs for eye infections.
- Flaxseed: Used for its oil, flaxseed can reduce itching and inflammation. You add one teaspoon of flaxseed to a cup of boiled water, stir for 10 minutes, and then drain the water. You can then pull out the contents in a piece of clean cloth and apply to the eye.
- Jasmine flowers: If you leave a jar of distilled water with some jasmine flowers sitting overnight, you can use the water the next day as an eyewash. Some people also use the water as eye drops. Jasmine flower seems to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Rosewater: It can clear debris from the eye when just a few drops are used.
- Coriander: The leaves of coriander have anti-inflammatory properties, so you can boil them in water, wait until the water cools, and then use the water as an eyewash.
- Fennel seeds: Like coriander, fennel seeds can be soaked in water and that water can be used as an eyewash. The water seems to help with eye redness.
- Potato: This is a very old remedy whereby a potato slice is placed on the eyelid. It is said that this relieves the burning sensation of inflamed, red eyes.
In the majority of cases, eye irritation is not something you need to worry about. Home remedies can be very helpful in reducing symptoms. However, in cases where the symptoms are severe or just don’t seem to be going away, it’s crucial that you seek medical attention. An infected eye that isn’t treated properly can put your eyesight in jeopardy.