Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye is the most common eye disease and it can be very irritating. While it does go away on its own with little to no treatment, there are several ways you can manage it, as well as avoid passing it to others. In this article, we’ll explore what conjunctivitis is and the best essential oils for pink eye, as well as how to use them.
Here are the best essential oils for pink eye:
What is Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis, or most commonly known as ‘pink eye’ is the infection and inflammation of the conjunctiva–the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and the white part of the eye.
Common symptoms are pinkish or reddish eyes, burning, itchiness, swelling of the white part of the eye, swelling of the eyelids, increased tear discharge, and sometimes discharge of pus. It is possible to have just one eye affected, but if the virus or bacteria that causes the infection is not treated in a few days, it can spread to affect both eyes.
What Causes Pink Eyes?
The most common causes of pink eye are viral, bacterial, allergic, and chemical irritation. Conjunctivitis is usually a manifestation of an infection or irritation or a symptom of a disease; it is not normally a disease of its own.
Viral conjunctivitis is usually associated with the viral infection that causes the flu, common cold, or sore throat.
Allergic conjunctivitis shows up when an individual is exposed to allergens like pollen, dust, pet hair and the likes. It could even show up with an allergic reaction to food.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection and this is the type that usually causes the eye or eyelids to secrete pus.
Chemicals that are irritants can also cause swelling and affect the eyes. Chemical injuries like these require immediate medical attention as they can cause severe eye damage and further damage to sensitive nerves in and around the eyes.
Pink eye can usually go away with very little to no specific treatment to it. The best way to treat it is to treat the underlying causes that cause conjunctivitis.
Antibiotics can help speed the healing of bacterial conjunctivitis. For those who have persistent cases, topical steroid drops may help.
Conjunctivitis caused by chemicals is usually irrigated with a saline solution.
There are a couple of other ways to manage the pain, itchiness, and swelling that comes with conjunctivitis.
Saline eye drops can typically help relieve the pain and itchiness, as well as flush the allergens and chemicals that cause pink eye. A warm or cool compress with a cloth placed over the face or just the area around the eyes is also considered to soothe and provide relief from the discomfort.
And of course, there are several essential oils for eye infections that can also provide great benefits in managing pink eye.
Best Essential Oils for Pink Eye
Tea tree oil is a very potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral. These properties can be very effective in providing relief for conjunctivitis.
Eucalyptus is a popular ingredient in many topical ointments for its antimicrobial, analgesic, and antibacterial properties and is great in treating the discomfort that comes with pink eye.
Aside from being popular for its soothing scent, lavender is also a great anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral and provides relief from pink eye pains.
Another oil to use for conjunctivitis is roman chamomile. Known to be very gentle and soothing, it’s a great mild oil to use in managing the swelling and itchiness of pink eye.
Lemon is known for its antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties. It can help speed up the healing process of pink eye and can provide almost instant relief from the discomfort.
How To Use Essential Oils for Pink Eye
The best way to use essential oils to treat pink eye is by diffusion or incorporating them in a hot or cold compress. For the best results, it is recommended that you use the best brands.
Use a Diffuser
Using a diffuser, pour 3-5 drops of essential oil for every 100mL of water. Some essential oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, and lemon can be more potent and may irritate the eyes, so use these sparingly. You can adjust the number of drops according to what you feel is comfortable for you.
Make a Warm Compress
You can also pour 1-3 drops of the essential of your choice in warm or cold water for a warm or cold compress. Dip a washcloth cloth and wring out excess water; this is very important as you don’t want the water to drip into your eye/s. Put over your face or eyes for instant relief.
There are a few things to remember when using essential oils to treat pink eye or conjunctivitis.
- NEVER put essential oils in the eyes, pure or diluted. It is generally not safe to put essential oils on any mucous membranes directly even if it is diluted in water, most especially when you have conjunctivitis caused by a chemical injury.
- NEVER use essential oils as a salve or lotion to apply to the surrounding area of the eyes. It is advised against using any kind of alternative treatment that involves any topical application near the eyes or on the eyelids when you are experiencing pink eye.
- Avoid alternative treatments for babies, children, or pregnant women as they can be extra sensitive to the effects of essential oil.
- If you observe any adverse reaction to any essential oil or alternative treatment, discontinue use immediately.
- Pink eye or conjunctivitis can be a symptom of an allergy. If you observe any swelling of the tongue or tightening of the throat or airways, call emergency services immediately.
While pink eye can go away on its own, essential oils offer some benefits and provide relief from it. It is important to note that conjunctivitis is usually a symptom of a disease or infection and your first course of action is to have it checked by a medical professional right away.
It is also important that you heed certain safety precautions to avoid further damage of your eye/s.