In simple terms, allergic conjunctivitis is allergy-induced pink eye. This type of pink eye is not contagious but often affects both eyes at the same time.
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when something you are allergic to irritates the conjunctiva, the delicate membrane covering the eye and the inside of the eyelid.
Like all allergies, allergic conjunctivitis starts when the immune system identifies an otherwise harmless substance as an allergen. This causes your immune system to overreact and produce antibodies, which in turn cause an allergic reaction.
In the case of allergic conjunctivitis, the reaction starts after exposure to allergens like pollen, dust mites, pet dander, royal jelly, lens solution, mold, or chemicals.
Allergic conjunctivitis can be either acute or chronic. Common symptoms include excess clear, watery discharge from the eyes, redness, itching, and swelling. The eyes also may feel gritty and sandy.
Allergies affect people of all ages, though this problem is common in people who have other allergic conditions, such as hay fever, asthma, or eczema.
Early diagnosis can help prevent the symptoms from becoming worse. With some precautionary measures and simple home remedies, you can experience relief or at least reduce the severity of symptoms.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for allergic conjunctivitis.
1. Avoid Triggers
While completely avoiding environmental factors that cause allergic conjunctivitis is not possible, at least try to limit your exposure.
To minimize your exposure to allergens:
- Keep windows and doors closed when the pollen count is high.
- Keep your home dust-free and vacuum regularly.
- Use an indoor air purifier to improve the quality of indoor air.
- Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals, dyes, and perfumes.
2. Cold Compresses
Applying cold compresses over the affected eyes can give you quick relief from the itching and pain . It also helps bring down the swelling.
You can use any of the following options:
- Soak a small lint-free cloth in ice cold water, wring it out and place it over your closed eyes. Remove it after 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat several times a day.
- Wrap some ice cubes in a lint-free cloth. Place it over your closed eyes and remove it after 5 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 times more.
- Placing a cold spoon on your closed eyes is another trick that you can try.
Note: Use different cloths for each eye.
3. Saline Solution
Flushing out your eyes with some homemade saline solution is another effective remedy if you get an allergen in your eye, the key reason behind allergic conjunctivitis.
Saline solution is good for irritated and inflamed eyes, and helps wash away any debris in the eyes.
- Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of distilled water.
- Bring the water to a boil, then allow it to cool.
- Use it as an eyewash, using an eyecup or dropper.
- Repeat the process several times a day.
Caution: Always make sure the water isn’t too hot, or else it may damage your eyes.
4. Black Tea Poultice
A black tea poultice is another good remedy for allergic conjunctivitis. The tannins in black tea are soothing for your eyes and help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Steep 2 black tea bags in 2 cups of hot water for 5 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags, set them aside on a clean plate, and allow them to cool down a bit.
- Use the tea bags as a warm poultice over your closed eyes for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Do it 3 or 4 times a day until your condition improves.
Due to its powerful anti-allergenic nature, chamomile is another good remedy for allergic conjunctivitis. It inhibits the release of histamine, which helps prevent an allergic reaction that causes this problem.
When chamomile tea is used as a cold compress or eyewash, it can provide relief from itchiness and eye irritation.
- Put 2 chamomile tea bags in 2 cups of hot water and let them steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and set them aside in the refrigerator. Put the chilled tea bags over your closed eyes for about 10 minutes. Do this 3 or 4 times a day for fast recovery.
- Also, use the cool chamomile tea as an eyewash, 2 or 3 times a day.
6. Rose Water
Pure rose water is another effective home remedy for allergic conjunctivitis. It is soothing and cooling for the eyes and helps clear the irritant that causes this type of pink eye.
The anti-inflammatory as well as soothing properties of rose water also help reduce the redness and itchiness.
- Rinse your eyes with pure rose water 2 or 3 times a day.
- Dip 2 cotton balls in rose water and place them over your closed eyes for 15 to 20 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day.
7. Holy Basil
Holy basil has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that protect the eyes from environmental damage and free radicals. It also helps clear the eyes of the irritant causing the problem.
- Put a handful of washed holy basil leaves in 1 cup of hot water, cover and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain the water and allow it to cool down.
- Use the water as an eyewash.
- Do it 2 or 3 times a day.
You can also soak a lint-free cloth in the infused water and use it as a warm compress.
Chilled cucumbers make a good remedy to ease the inflammation and irritation caused by allergy-induced pink eye.
The enzymes and the astringent properties in cucumbers help reduce inflammation around your eyes.
- Cut a cucumber into thick slices.
- Chill the slices in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Place the cold slices on your closed eyes for 10 minutes or until they become warm.
- Repeat several times a day.
9. Cold Milk
Milk is another effective home remedy for allergy-induced pink eye. Cold milk soothes the burning sensation and eases itchiness in the eyes.
- Dab a clean cotton ball in cold milk. Rub it around your closed eyes. Do this 2 or 3 times a day.
- Also, you can soak a lint-free cloth in cold milk and place it over your closed eyes as a compress for 15 to 20 minutes. Do it 3 or 4 times a day.
10. Do Not Wear Contact Lenses
When suffering from allergic conjunctivitis, it is highly recommended not to wear lenses to aid the healing process. In fact, avoid wearing the lenses until the symptoms clear up and the problem is completely gone. Wear glasses for a few days to reduce irritation.
Before you start using your lenses again, ask your doctor whether you should throw away your disposable s, as well as your cleaning solution and lens case.
If the lenses aren’t disposable, clean them thoroughly before reusing them.
- To ease your symptoms, avoid rubbing your eyes.
- Don’t touch your eyes with dirty hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
- Wash your bed linens, pillowcases, and towels in hot water and detergent to reduce allergens.
- Wash your hands before applying eye drops in your eyes.
- Do not use an eyecup that was used in an infected eye in a non-infected eye.
- Avoid using eye makeup, as infected makeup can re-infect you.
- You can try an oral or over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce or block histamine release.
- Over-the-counter eye drops called artificial tears may help relieve symptoms.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis. American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus – AAPOS. https://aapos.org/terms/conditions/13. Accessed March 01, 2018.