When an eye infection occurs, it causes redness, irritation, swelling of the eye lid, excess drainage and achiness in the eyes. When the symptoms get severe, medicated eye drops will be required to reduce the pain and also start the healing process. Sometimes, the eye infection can heal by itself, however, it can take a week or more to deal. Home remedies for eye infection can be tried during this time to relieve the symptoms and hasten the healing process.
Common Types of Eye Infection
Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye: This is a very commonly occurring infection which causes the eye to redden and causes irritation as well.
Stye: This infection involves formation of a small lump inside the eyelid or at the base of eyelash. It is harmless but painful and is medically known as hordeolum.
Blepharitis: In this infection, the eye lids are affected and it causes them to itch and burn with irritation.
Orbital Cellulitis: In this infection the area surrounding the eye gets affected and if proper treatment is not given, it can lead to serious damage or even loss of eyesight.
Keratitis (Ulcer of Cornea): This is mainly caused due to presence of a foreign body in the eye, which causes injury to the cornea. Fungal keratitis outbreak had happened in 2006 worldwide when a contact lens solution was used. This solution has been withdrawn from the market.
Home Remedies for Eye Infection
Cleaning. When dirt, fecal matter or any other debris causes the sebaceous glands to get infected with bacteria, it causes stye formation in the eye. If you find a stye, it should be cleaned to remove the source of infection. You can clean stye by using a cotton ball or swab and warm water.
Hot Compress. This is one of the most effective home remedies for eye infection like Stye. Use a lint-free cloth dipped in warm water, wrung well before applying as compress on closed eye. This increases the blood circulation and fastens the process of maturing the stye. The stye can then drain out faster. A warm compress should be applied 3 or 4 times in a day.
For this infection, use warm water compress on closed eyes. This will help in loosening the crusts formed on the eyelids. Remove any oily debris or scales collected at the eye lashes by using a moist wash cloth and few drops of baby shampoo.
This procedure for the stye as well as blepharitis, should be repeated several times in a day. However, it is important to ensure that the cotton / wash cloth and hands are clean, to prevent further infection.
Salt Water Compress for Conjunctivitis
This is one of the effective home remedies for eye infection – conjunctivitis. Salt should be added to boiling water, once cooled, dip cotton ball in it and place on the affected area. It is very easy and helpful remedy for conjunctivitis. Since cold water compress is more soothing to the eyes, you should use water after it has cooled down.
Warning: If the infection has affected only one eye, do not use the same cloth on both eyes. This will ensure that the infection does not spread.
Cold Eye Bath
This particular home remedy can be done to strengthen the eyes. It also helps in restoring the natural expression and sparkle to the eyes. For this, fill a basin or sink with cold water and dip your face in it, blink eyes for around 5 seconds. Remove face from the sink and repeat the whole process three or four times.
Tea Bags to Reduce Burning Sensation
Tea bags soaked in cold water for few seconds and then placed on closed eyes can provide immediate relief from burning sensation in the eyes by cooling them.
Over the counter eye drops also known as artificial tears are available which help in relieving symptoms associated with infection. Sometimes the these drops also contain antihistamines or some medicine which help in curing allergic conjunctivitis
Discontinue Contact Lens Use
During an infection, the use of contact lenses should be discontinued. You can ask the eye doctor to confirm how long you should discontinue the use. The doctor will also advice if the lenses, solution and lens case should be discarded. Non-disposable lenses should be cleaned thoroughly before re-using them.
Coriander seeds are said to have properties which help in reducing swelling caused by stye. Water in which coriander seeds have been soaked for an hour, should be used to wash the eye.
Sometimes, the doctor prescribes oral antibiotics or antiviral medication after determining the underlying cause of the eye infection. Eye drops or ointments can also be prescribed. If there is any change in the symptoms or they worsen, doctor should be consulted immediately.
How to Prevent Eye Infections
When you are with a person with a red eye, do not touch your own eyes without washing hands first.
Make use of hand sanitizers, cleansers, anti-infective sprays in public places like day care centers and classrooms, etc.
Always wash hands before using contact lenses, or touching the eyes
Do not share towels, bedding with someone who has red eye infection or other eye infection. Ensure they wash their hands frequently.