How to Get Rid of Pink Eye Fast

Janis

By Janis | Updated January 1, 2024

Dealing with pink eye can be an uncomfortable experience, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms and speed up the healing process. 

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. 

It can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, allergies, or irritants like smoke and dust.

Identifying the cause of your condition and choosing the appropriate treatment is essential in getting rid of the pink eye fast. 

While bacterial conjunctivitis may require antibiotics prescribed by a doctor, viral and allergic cases often respond well to home remedies and over-the-counter solutions. 

In this article, we’ll explore various methods for effectively treating pink eye and reducing discomfort so that you can get back to your normal life as soon as possible.

Looking for Signs and Symptoms

Determining whether you have pink eye is the first crucial step in effective treatment. Early recognition of symptoms can help you take appropriate action promptly.

If you suspect pink eye, look for common signs like eye redness, itchiness, and tearing. 

You might experience sensitivity to light or a feeling of having a foreign body in your eye.

Quick Treatment of Pink Eye

The goal is to alleviate symptoms and tackle the root cause of pink eye as efficiently as possible. Immediate intervention can minimize discomfort and prevent spreading.

First Step: Knowing the Cause

Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis can have similar symptoms, but bacterial infections often produce pus or thick discharge.

Allergic conjunctivitis usually occurs in both eyes, with itching and watery discharge as key indicators. 

Second Step: Eye Comfort

Soothing your eyes is a crucial second step in quick-acting treatments for pink eye. It helps alleviate irritation and brings comfort to inflamed eyes.

Pain Relief 

Take over-the-counter painkillers. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage eye pain and inflammation. 

Take the recommended dosage according to the packaging, and consult your healthcare professional if symptoms persist or worsen. 

Remember, always take medication responsibly and as directed to avoid potential side effects.

Lubrication for the Eyes

Use over-the-counter lubricating eye drops (artificial tears). Artificial tears can help relieve dryness and irritation. 

Choose a reputable brand and follow the instructions on the label. Make sure to avoid using redness-reducing drops, as they may worsen the condition.

Eye Compress 

Soak a clean cloth in cool or tepid water, wring it out, and apply it gently to closed eyelids for a few minutes.

To soothe itchy eyes, use a cool compress. For relief from general discomfort, use a warm compress. Place it over your eyes for a few minutes to help alleviate redness and irritation.

Third Step: Infection Control

Preventing the spread of pink eye is an essential third step. It’s crucial to maintain strict hygiene to ensure others are not infected.

Since a pink eye can be contagious, take precautions:

Mind Where You Touch

Being mindful of the surfaces you touch is critical in preventing the spread of pink eye. The virus or bacteria can easily be transferred from your hands to commonly used objects.

To minimize the risk, regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, remote controls, and personal electronic devices. 

Avoid touching your eyes and disinfect frequently to reduce the chance of contagion.

Wash Your Hands

Frequent handwashing is a cornerstone in preventing the spread of pink eye. Using soap and water, scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds to eliminate germs.

Ensure you wash your hands after touching your eyes or face and before eating or touching other people. This practice not only protects you but also safeguards others from the highly contagious condition.

Stop Sharing Items

Sharing personal items like makeup, contact lenses, or glasses can be a quick route for pink eye transmission. Always keep these items strictly personal to avoid spreading the infection.

If someone in your household has pink eye, immediately halt any sharing of these items. 

Even after the infection clears, replace or thoroughly disinfect them to ensure they are germ-free.

Isolate and Sanitize Fabric

Towels, clothes, and beddings are common culprits for spreading pink eye, as they can harbor the infectious agent. It’s crucial to use separate linens if someone in the home is affected.

After the infection has cleared, make sure to wash all towels, clothes, and bedding in hot water. This ensures that any lingering bacteria or viruses are effectively killed, reducing the risk of recurrence or spread.

Pink Eye in Newborns

If your newborn is showing symptoms of pink eye, it’s crucial to consult a doctor immediately. Neonatal conjunctivitis can become serious if caused by an infection. As a rule of thumb, always prioritize your baby’s hygiene to prevent any infection.

Upon diagnosing your newborn, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic ointment or drops to help treat a bacterial infection. It is essential to follow the doctor’s instructions as it pertains to dosing and application.

In case of pink eye caused by allergies or irritants, the doctor might recommend using a warm compress on your baby’s eyes. Make sure the compress is not too hot, and avoid using too much pressure on their delicate eyes.

Keep an eye on their vision, and if you notice any changes, get in touch with your baby’s doctor. Additionally, avoid using eye makeup on the newborn, as it can exacerbate the infection.

While breast milk is highly nutritious for your baby, it is not an effective treatment for pink eye. Stick to prescribed medications and maintain proper hygiene to ensure your newborn’s well-being.

Things to Avoid

Avoid using medicated eye drops unless prescribed by your doctor. Over-the-counter eye drops might not help and could potentially worsen your condition if the cause of pink eye is viral or an allergic reaction.

While coping with pink eye, abstain from wearing contacts and discard any potentially contaminated lenses. Once your infection is gone, use a new pair of contacts to avoid reinfection.

Refrain from touching your eyes, as pink eye is contagious and can spread easily. 

Steer clear of wearing eye makeup during the infection. Discard old eye makeup and replace it once your eyes have recovered to prevent future infections.

Do not use hot compresses on your eyes. Stick to cool, or tepid water compresses to alleviate your symptoms. Heat can worsen itching associated with pink eye.

Over-the-counter artificial tears can provide relief but ensure they are free of preservatives. Avoid exacerbating pain or irritation by using products that might not be suitable for your condition.

When to See a Doctor

While pink eye is usually a minor infection, there are certain cases when you should seek medical attention. If your symptoms worsen or don’t show signs of improvement after a week, consult your primary care doctor or eye doctor (ophthalmologist).

Persistent, painful redness or discharge in your eyes, along with an increase in sensitivity to light, may indicate a bacterial infection. In these cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to help clear up the infection.

Experiencing changes in your vision, severe pain, or intense swelling are signs that the infection might be more serious. It’s crucial to visit an ophthalmologist for an accurate evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Remember, timely medical attention can help prevent any potential damage to your vision and ensure that your conjunctivitis is treated effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best home remedies for pink eye?

Cold or warm compresses applied several times daily can provide relief for pink eye symptoms. 

Ensure proper hygiene, such as washing hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid using makeup or contact lenses until the pink eye has cleared.

Which eye drops work the fastest for conjunctivitis?

Your healthcare provider can recommend the most appropriate eye drops for your specific type of conjunctivitis. 

Allergic conjunctivitis may respond well to antihistamine eye drops, while bacterial conjunctivitis may require antibiotic eye drops. 

What conditions are often mistaken for pink eye?

Dry eye, allergies, or eye irritation from substances like chlorine can cause symptoms similar to pink eye. 

These conditions may present with itching, redness, or watery eyes but without the discharge or contagious nature associated with conjunctivitis. 

What can help relieve pink eye symptoms faster?

Over-the-counter pain medication can alleviate discomfort, while antihistamines may help with allergic pink eye symptoms.

Cold or warm compresses can also provide relief from itching and swelling. Always consult your healthcare provider before using medication for pink eye.

Are there any toddler-friendly methods for treating pink eye?

For young children, use gentle warm or cold compresses to soothe the eyes. Apply just enough pressure to avoid causing discomfort. 

Encourage children to practice good handwashing habits to prevent the spread of infection. Consult a pediatrician for any recommended treatments or medications.