Pink eye is an eye infection also known as conjunctivitis, and the condition may result from bacteria, a virus or fungus. Symptoms include redness, itching, scratchiness and tearing. Some people may also have swollen eyelids and a thick discharge with the infection. Severe cases of pink eye may require medication to treat the condition and prevent recurrence. However, in the case of mild infections, some people may find that home remedies, such as coconut oil, help ease symptoms.
Coconut oil contains many nutrients and chemical components that some people believe will not only boost your overall health, but also may improve conditions such as pink eye. Some people believe coconut oil may boost your immune system, and this could help fight your eye infection.
You may find many types of coconut oil for purchase, but make sure you use virgin or pure coconut oil and not hydrogenated coconut oil, an altered form of the oil. Processing of coconut oil may also result in added chemicals, but coconut oils labeled as "unrefined" should not carry any additional chemicals.
Coconut oil users may dampen a cotton ball or soft cloth with the oil and hold this against closed eyelids on the affected eye. Another way to use coconut oil is to take a spoonful by mouth. Brian Shilhavy, a certified nutritional counselor of NaturoDoc says that a beneficial dose of coconut oil is 3 to 4 tbsp. each day.
If you have pink eye symptoms, you may find more relief in applying a cool or warm compress against your closed eyelids. You can dampen a clean cloth with the temperature that feels best on your lids, but you should avoid using scalding hot water. You may choose to alternate both warm and cool cloths throughout the day. If you have swelling, a cool cloth may help reduce the inflammation, but if you have discharge or eye pain, a warm cloth may help ease these symptoms.
You should not use coconut oil or other supplements without first consulting with your doctor. If you have symptoms of pink eye, have your doctor examine your eyes. She may determine that your symptoms require prescription medications to resolve your symptoms and the infection. If your doctor recommends medication but you think coconut oil may offer some treatment benefits, discuss this with your doctor. She can help you formulate a safe treatment plan that involves coconut oil.
- MayoClinic.com; Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis); May 2010
- NaturoDoc; Coconut Oil: The Healthiest Oil on Earth; Brian Shilhavy
- "Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut"; Bruce Fife; 2005