Eye Infection - Do Home Remedies Work? Worth Trying or Not Worth the Risk?

Updated on December 01, 2010
M.4. asks from Saint Petersburg, FL
21 answers

I'm a contact wearer and I do sleep in my contacts sometimes.

2 days ago I woke up with puss around my eye. Didn't think much of it - no pain, discomfort, etc.

Yesterday noticed eye was really red. Took my contacts out and redness got worse as the day went on. Went to eye doctor who told me I have an bacterial infection, in BOTH eyes. Told me not to wear contacts for 7 days and use prescribed drop. I went to go fill the prescription and was told they would cost $80 GENERIC!!! I had just spend $70 on the exam with the doctor and felt that $80 for a tiny bottle (7 day supply) was just outrageous. So I went home and researched, and read that the infection should go away on it's own in about 7 days and that chamomile tea compress is a natural remedy.

Last night my husband put about 6 drops fo chamomile in both eyes, it felt weird for a bit but then went away. The puss this morning was only in the creases of my eyes and the redness is much less. My concern is that I don't know when the infection is gone and don't want to be ignorant and not fill the prescription if it's getting worse. I'm no doctor, but I think that if the redness and puss stop, then my eyes are better?

I will not wear my contacts for at least a week and will put new pair in when all symptoms are gone.

So have any of you used home remedies for eye infections that have worked? Please share your story. I've heard to use tea bags, breast milk, urine and alcohol... Would love to hear what works best, pros and cons.

And also, when it's just time to giive up and fill the prescription...

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answers from Dallas on

I got a really bad eye infection last year. It wasn't due to contacts, but it was bacterial. The same thing happened, the medicine was outrageous. It was $130. I called the doctor and just asked if there was a cheaper option out there, explaining that I was self paying for the medication. He was able to prescribe a medication that was on the $4 list. I would call and talk to him before you self medicate. I am one who rarely goes to the doctor, but eyesight is nothing to fool around with in my opinion.

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answers from Toledo on

If it were a viral infection, I'd say give the home remedies a try. Being that it is a bacterial infection though, I would just "bite it" and get the drops. Bacteria spreads and does not go away on its own. That is why so many bacterial infections are so contageous. It has to be "disinfected" and the only way to do that is with antibodies.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I would not mess with an eye infection. I work at Lenscrafters and see this kind of thing quite often. Ask the doctor if there is an alternative to the drops he gave you that could be less expensive or may be if they have some samples as you can not afford the drops he prescribed. If you do not take care of your eyes and get rid of the infection then you may not be able to wear contacts for longer than seven days. When in the shower,scrub your eyelids with your eyes closed with some baby shampoo or baby wash.I would do this every day to keep the eyes clean. Do not sleep in your contacts because your eyes are not getting the needed oxygen. When you sleep you lose oxygen to your eyes and when you have contacts in you lose more oxygen. Good luck and please call the doctors office and do what I suggested. I hope your eye feels better soon.

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answers from New York on

First of all - it's your vision you're messing around with - home remedies are not for eyes! Get a prescription now for antibactierial drops.

Second - as it relates to contact lenses and sleeping in them - my eye doctro told me years ago that VERY few people are candidates for the sleep-in contact lenses and of those only about 10% have success. He refuses to fit them for his patietn AT ALL - said that he saw too many patients have just the problems you're having - damage that could not be reversed that resulted from sleep-in contact lenses.

Sounds like this occurs once in a while - I really think you need to ask if you should be wearing them to sleep. At the very least I would not wear them to sleep EVER. It only takes 3 mintes to take them out and clean them. You do not want to damage your eyes permanently. My sister got an infection in her eyes and now has a permanent scratch on her cornea which does impact her vision.

I've worn contact lenses for more than 30 years - LOVE them. But as i've goten older I've found that my eyes tolerate them less and less and I wear glasses more often. Of course, at 51, I need reading glasses when I wear contact lenses - so that kind of defeats the purpose!

Call the eye doctor back and ask if there's a presciption that's less costly - you'd be surprised. Also call around - some pharamcies are a lot more expensive than others. But if not - let's face it - how much do you spend on contact lenses? Isn't your vision worth $150?

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answers from Glens Falls on

I would fill the prescription if there is any way at all you can afford it. Bacterial infections of the eye - so this isn't like pink eye- it's bacterial, can effect your vision permanently - that's worth 80 bucks to me.

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answers from Johnstown on

Well, I'm guessing you have pink eye (aka conjunctivitis) and it's incredibly contageous. You need to toss those lenses and I would suggest toss the case as well. Wash your hands thoroughly in hot water with soap. I just took my daughter to the dr. for that here not even an hr ago. I remember growing up that we used boric acid to treat it. HOWEVER, since all of the recent bomb making activity, you can no longer buy boric acid over the counter. I read online this a.m. that you can dissolve 1 tsp of baking soda in 2 cups of water to make an eye wash...I tried it on her a couple times already and she says her eye doesn't burn as much as it had. This will help with the irritation, but you need to get a prescription to clear the issue up. My daughter is not allowed back in school for 48 hrs because this is so contageous, so PLEASE see the dr. ASAP!

Edited to add: I'm not sure what script the dr. was trying to give you, but the one my daughter just received was only $30 and it's for both eyes.

If you PM me, I'll give you some other info I found on this as well.

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answers from Charlotte on

SB is so right. I'd rather go without meat for a few weeks and eat beans to get my protein allowance rather than take a chance with my eyes. You should too.

One thing to remember is that everytime you have an eye infection, you risk never being able to wear contact lenses again. If you can afford the contacts, you can afford to properly medicate your eyes. Don't put stuff in them that the doctor doesn't tell you to use. It's foolhardy to listen to people's "stories" about tea, urine and alcohol, breast milk - good Lord. You only have these eyes and can't get anymore. Why would you listen to old wives' tales?

Call your doctor back and tell him or her what you've been doing. Tell him the medicine is very expensive. Ask for a different brand that is cheaper. And promise yourself that you'll stop looking for cheap tricks like this. Your health is TOO precious for that!


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answers from Colorado Springs on

We use Colloidal SIlver for eye issues. We put some on a cotton ball and wipe the outside of the eye (just close your eye and wipe). It works so great. The pain and itching go away, and it is so soothing. Colloidal Silver is a natural antibiotic, which you cannot build immunity against, like you can with pharmaceutical antibiotics. Of course, if your condition worsens (which I have never seen), you should see your doctor. But, I am not a fan of big pharma for most things. It has its place, but it is way in the back of the room in a corner. ;)

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answers from Wichita on

I dont like to mess with eye stuff. If you're not going the doctor's route, definately wait at least 2 weeks if not more before using your contacts.



answers from San Francisco on


I just wouldn't chance it with my eyes. Some infections can cause blindness--so...I know the meds are expensive, but please get the meds. Don't risk it.




answers from Miami on

The thing about eyes, and this is just my opinion, if I lost my sight, I would be devastated. Wouldn't you? Are you willing to take a risk of losing your sight because you didn't want to spend the money for the medicine that the doctor prescribed? $80 or loss of sight. Which would you choose? Now, I'm not suggesting that I know for sure that you could lose your sight, but an infection in the eyes, so close to the brain...not a risk I'm willing to take.



answers from Erie on

I refused to use antibiotics when I was pregnant and used eyebright tea, it worked really well. I made a strong tea with the eyebright herb, strained it into and kept it in a sterilized glass jar in the fridge. Wet a cotton ball, wipe from the tear duct out once and discard the cotton ball. Do this 2-3 times on each eye 3x/day and the infection should be gone in a matter of days. It never failed me, and I was prone to multiple eye infections and sinus infections when I was pregnant with all of my children.


answers from Modesto on

I am SO GUILTY of leaving my contacts in for days at a time. I keep them on in the shower so I can see to shave my legs! I've had them get red, sore and infected a couple of times. I dont have insurance that covers eyes so I have to doctor myself most of the time. I have a bottle of eye wash that I use, but mostly I just stick to wearing glasses for a few days and I also use my contact cleaner as drops for my eyes. It always clears up on its own within about 3 or 4 days. I'd get rid of your current eye makeup and make sure your contacts are very clean before using them again. If you wear eye makeup it's probably the culprit... I toss mine when this happens as it gives me a great excuse to spend some dough on some new eye makeup.
If your eyes get worse tho, make sure you get those prescribed drops. Going blind would pretty much suck ;)



answers from Allentown on

I agree with all responders below- your eyes are nothing to mess with and once you don't have them...
So try calling the eye dr. and getting a cheaper prescription. Good lord, did you say urine?? When did this become an option to put in your eyes?
And for just day to day sensitivities, or when you have had your contacts in for over 8 hrs, as most of us do, use some of the tea ideas below!
Hugs and I hope you feel better!


answers from Albany on

I stopped going (bringing kids) to the doctor for eye infection years ago. I've just bought a bottle of the appropriate Similasan which has worked well. Of course, if it HADN'T worked, THEN I'd've gone to the drs anyway.



answers from Las Vegas on

try boric acid.. I know the name sounds like EEK!! acid.. but if you'll notice, it's also in your contact rinse... I've used it before when I had Pink Eye and it seemed to work... they have systems where you can buy a bottle that has an eye cup (for lack of a better word) attached. you put the solution in that (and I think some water) read directions on the bottle of course.. anyway... do that a couple times of times. also.. it's def good to give your eyes a break and NOT sleep in contacts, I used to do that and even IF the contacts are made for that, your eyes truly need to breathe.... also, get some cheapy glasses to wear at night so that you can give your eyes a break..
a good site for cheap ones is Zenni Optical.. it's online.. of course, your glasses prescription should be valid.. etc etc..



answers from Atlanta on

There are several things that work. Chamomile is one of them. If you have a health food store close by (pharmaceutical grade (like Vitamin Shoppe), not GNC or Vitamin World) ask them. They are usually well educated and have special items for things just like this. There is as much research and experience with homeopathic remedies as there is on synthetic pharmaceuticals.You're right that most bacterial infections will go away on their own. The overuse of antibiotics has broken our immune systems down and cause more issue with mutating strains/higher resistant strains of bacteria. Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic that we use in our home. I have rid my 92 year old father of pneumonia 5 times without the use of antibiotics. He's bedridden, on a feeding tube and he aspirates fluids once in a while so it natural for it to become infected at times. there are no side effects of silver if used correctly.

With that said, eyes are terribly sensitive. If you hadn't seen improvement already I would be sitting on the fence about taking the antibiotic. Antibiotics have their place but only for critical issues.

Hope this helps!




answers from Fort Myers on

Yeah! Dont mess with your eyes and dont be fooled, there are cheaper prescriptions out there! I was surprised when I tried this free prescription card that was sitting on my midwifes desk... she said take one, try it... I did and saved $100.00!! Also, Walmart really does honor 4.00 generics and cheaper deals... even calling around the pharmacys fight over giving you the best price. I am paying less than when I had my Blue Cross... which is disgusting when I look at the amount of money I spent with that company.. Its your eyes.. just get the script! I too am into natural remedy, but pink eye is soooo contageious.. yuck! Good luck :)



answers from Atlanta on

The tea bags do seem to help! They help reduce swelling and have a natural healing property. I know the eye drops are insanely expensive -did you ask about a cheaper one? Once for my children and once for myself I needed the $80 ones, and the doctors said they preferred those, but would prescribe a different one that my insurance paid for. There are cheaper drops! I've found with pink eye and eye infections -the drops are going to help it go away MUCH faster. "Pink eye" -conjunctivitis -is VERY contagious and it's possible to re-infect yourself easily after you're rid of it. Make sure you get rid of everything you use in, on or around your eyes if you used it right before this happened.

I would NOT drop alcohol or urine into my eyes if I were you!


answers from Modesto on

I wear contacts and have that pus thing happen to me on occasion. I wear my stupid glasses for as long as I have to and the only thing I use in my eyes is my contact cleaner... it always clears itself up in a few days ;)
I douche my eyes with the cleaner in the morning and in the evening.. it seems to work. Yours could be worse than mine tho... so dont hesitate to get the prescription if you feel your eyes getting worse.



answers from Tampa on

I WOULD NOT use urine or alcohol and would think and do research about the breast milk. I have found home remedies work well with anything alot of the times. Saline solution might help with irritation. Whatever you use (if it were me) I would continue treatment for a few more days. I AM NOT A DOCTOR though. Any sign of infection should be seen.

I don't know for sure but I Don't think pink eye and conjunctivitis is all and the same. Pink eye may be a form of conjunctivitis and IF it is pink eye your doctor would have told you and it is very contagious.

For infections (Dr prescribes much too often IMHO). I use salt or salt water (my kids and grandkids laugh at me - sore throat "get the saltwater!") but it works. Doses of natural sea-salt (just a pinch now and then on back of tongue) or more vitamin C than you take now on a regular schedule (I am not afraid of mega dosing on Vit C for a day or so). Again I AM NOT A DOCTOR

Good luck

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