Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Home Cures for Pink Eye

"You won't believe how simple it is to clear this up WITHOUT a trip to the waiting room and a bill! Pinkeye Remedy! Use breast milk or raw cows or goats milk instead"

I generally like to stay away from possible controversial posts, but after seeing this on pinterest I felt I should do a write up on it. This is the epitome of a bad idea pin. I generally don't like to link back to the sites that are pinned giving bad advice, but trust me.. a quick pinterest search for pink eye cures will pull up a LOT of bad advice. I'm not a doctor, I'm not claiming to be a doctor, but I think sometimes common sense should tell us not to put strange things into our eyes.

I know when I was nursing my babies it was a common recommendation if they start to get a little crusty in the eyes to squirt a bit of breast milk into the eyes to help clear it up. That always made me laugh because I figured it was a good nursing session when I didn't end up dosing them with breast milk. But does breast milk help prevent or cure pink eye? Reports are mixed. Over at the blog Science of Mom, she did a really great post about this, which you can read here.

But what are you to do if you're way past the nursing stage? Well as this pin states - raw cow or goat milk of course! Now I'm not going to go into the raw milk debate here, because that's not the point of this post. Anyone who drinks raw milk has to be aware that it is, in it's very essence not clean. That's the point behind a lot of peoples' love of raw milk - its full of things! Pasteurized milk is cooked (usually at a very high temperature for long periods of time) until it's dead of anything and everything (including taste according to some people)

The problem with the idea of putting raw animal milk into your eyes is that unlike breast milk, which is usually applied direct from the breast or shortly after being expressed,  raw milk has been siting for a while. And though the chances aren't as common as some people might think, raw milk CAN contain things like e-coli and listeria. In fact, things like listeria can cause eye infections if it gets into your eye.

So let's talk about what is pink eye. Other than really gross, it is basically just an inflammation of your eye. Often times caused by allergies or a virus, most of the cases of pink eye are able to clear up on their own within a week. There are a few kinds of conjunctivitis so unless it's a bacterial infection, chances are the drops won't do much more than relieve the symptoms. (in which case any old eye drops will do to help with the crustiness and itching) If it is caused  by a bacteria, then you do need prescription drops. I always like to stress that - not all pink eye cases even NEED medical drops. Warm compresses, keeping your hands away from the infect eyes, and eye drops to help keep the eye from being painful is often all you need.

So all in all - really you're BEST bet is to ether dose with over the counter eye drops (They even make homeopathic pink eye drops if that's your thing, you can find it at most major drug stores here in the U.S.) and if it's not clearly up in a few days, please, seek medical attention.


  1. Breast milk actually is better than over the counter eye drops, especially for babies. As my daughter's pediatrician explained, breast milk contains live white blood cells which will attack an infection even better than antibiotics will. :)

  2. Anonymous17/8/13

    so you write an entire article criticizing the use of natural milk as a cure for pink eye but you don't provide any evidence/research to support your criticism? not helpful...

  3. Out of my 5 kids, the ones who drink raw milk are far healthier than the ones who don't. Far more people have gotten sick from pasteurized milk than raw, so the e-coli scare tactic doesn't set well with me. I just got over my eye infection quickly using raw milk!!

  4. i usually go with the eye drops. raw milk seems a bit risky to me!