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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


ConjuctivitisPink eye is technically know as conjunctivitis.  The conjunctiva is the membrane surrounding the cornea.  A number of irritants can cause inflammation of the conjunctiva.  Most common for childhood pink eye would be a viral infection.  Bacterial infections, allergies or chemical exposure can develop similar symptoms as well.

Oils that are antiviral or antibacterial may be carefully applied around the bone socket of the eye (avoid getting any oil directly into the eye) for those types of infection.  For small children the oils can be applied to the bottom of the feet as well.

For allergic reactions using those oils that treat the other allergic symptoms (Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint) will also relieve eye discomfort.  Cool compresses will add to the relief furnished by the oils.

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends: Eucalyptus, Lavender, Melaleuca, Cleansing Blend

Essential oils based products:

Also consider: Frankincense, Protective Blend, Oregano (dilute)

Suggested protocols:

For older children and adults (those that can resist touching the area):

     Apply 2 or 3 drops each of Lavender and Melaleuca around the socket of the eye.  Put drops in palm of hand and apply oils from palm to eye with tip of your finger.

For younger children:

     Using a hard shell eye patch (available at the pharmacy) apply 2 drops each of Lavender and Melaleuca to 1/3 of a cotton pad and then place the cotton pad in the eye patch.  Place the oils side of the cotton patch to the outside, where it will not contact the eye or eyelid directly.  Place the eye patch over the affected eye.

Repeat the above procedures 2 to 4 times during the day.  At the same time rub Cleansing Blend oil on the feet ( reflexology points are the big toe and the next two toes).

At night repeat the eye treatment and rotate from Cleansing Blend to Eucalyptus for the feet.  Repeat the daily protocol until redness disappears and two days following.

Caution the child not to rub or scratch the eye and place socks on the feet so that oils are not transferred from the feet to other areas.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Mara - My mother thought she had pink eye, was diagnosed and given eye drops. it went away, but now a week later she has a red sore on the side of the same eye. she says it feels like a cut, but she did not hurt it. What are some oils that would be effective? She has a yeast problem throughout her body, and is on Lemon for that. Could the eye sore be another manifestation of yeast? if so, what could she try that would be sensitive enough to use around the eyes?

Jan - I would do the Candida blend; 1 drop Oregano, 2 drops Melaleuca, 3-5 drops of Lemon twice a day for 3 weeks.  Even if the infection seems gone.  Or you could use the antibiotic blend; 2 drops Frankincense, 4 drops Oregano, 12 drops Protective Blend.

Then use Cleansing Blend with a small amount of VCO carrier 2-3 times daily around the eye.  Not in.

Au – Cleansing Blend around the eye and also diffuse Cleansing Blend.

Leah - I used 3 drops Oregano, 2 Melaleuca, 2 Lemon three times a day ingested by capsule and my pink eye was gone within 36 hrs. Also homeopathic eye drops found at local health food store for flushing, alternated with pure saline. Could the red sore be from the drops? Were they antibiotic drops? Even the homeopathic remedy did cause redness around the eye that took a while for the skin to heal. I think it was actually too much salt solution for a prolonged period for the skin, it’s a sensitive area.

Natalie - I have had success with Frankincense for sties around the eye and it is safe to put very close to the eye itself. I would suggest she go on the full Candida protocol with the Oregano and Melaleuca, but my experience with eyes says this is probably a cleansing reaction.


Protocols folks recommend for children


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Yesterday morning, my little girl came downstairs to eat breakfast.  When I reached down to give her a hug, I was surprised to see that her left eye had a typical case of pink eye.  She had a gob of infection in the corner of her eye, and along the bottom of her eye and the white of the eye was now definitely PINK!  We have a new born baby and so it startled me - and I wanted it gone immediately.

So, I grabbed for my (...) Modern Essentials book.... LAVENDER.  It was the oil suggested that I felt like she needed... and Melaleuca.  We applied Lavender across her cheeks, being careful to not get it into her eyes.  Throughout the day, as she would come through the kitchen every hour or so, I would either dilute the Lavender oil ( 1 or 2 drops) with the FCO (Fractionated Coconut Oil) and wipe it across her face and under her eyes, or I'd apply the Lavender alone directly under her eyes. (I used Melaleuca once with the Lavender).

Early evening the pink eye had cleared up quite a bit, but I was still worried about her coming in contact with any of her friends.  This morning I told her that I needed to put "oils" on her.  She said she didn't need it.  When I looked at her cute little happy 3 year old face I was shocked....there were NO signs of infection, or pink eye. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my (...) (xxx) oils!

Editor's note:  I asked Steffanie how she kept her daughter from getting oils in her eye.  Here is her response:

I would put the Lavender across her nose and on her cheek bone and then in her eyebrow (above the affected eye). She is such a "busy-body" that I would basically stop her as she skipped, or hopped from place to place, put it on quickly and off she'd go bouncing or skipping again. For her, I didn't really think about her touching it and getting it into her eye. By putting it on the eyebrow, that probably helped, and then rubbing it in the best I could so that she wouldn't get it on her hands.

Steff - We've had a couple cases of pink eye in our family this last week and using Lavender under the eyes and in the eyebrow several times a day has wiped out pink eye in one day with each child that has had the issue.  I just got fake eyelashes and my eyes are really red...I'm also trying out the Lavender to see if it helps.  Due to the previous comment about Frankincense, I'll try that also.


Nikki - What to do for pink eye??

Marti - Eucalyptus and Melaleuca on the two toes next to the big one.  Alternate each every hour.  If it is a bad case put Oregano on the bottom of foot as well and can use Melaleuca around the eye bone (not in the eye)  Can also were an eye patch to help kids stop touching and spreading. Looks like a pirate, very cool!

Samara - Cleansing Blend around the eye works well.  Also, diffusing helped a lot.


Jan - I tried the Lavender around the eye sockets, that Rob suggested, for my 9mo. grandson, but the infection seems to be getting worse. (he was diagnosed with conjunctivitis).? He is also on an antibiotic eye drop from the pediatrician. It is horrible how my daughter has to give it to him. Keeping his hands clean, not wiping his eyes. She literally has to hold him down (takes two of us) to put the drops in and open his eyes. Then he cries for at least a minute after this procedure is done 4 times a day.  (We all have to keep changing our clothes and his so the infection won't spread). I keep telling my daughter that frequency is the key. She was disturbed by the whiteness around the eye. I told her not to worry, it was probably from the eye drops. Should I put a carrier oil with the Lavender or use it neat? Or are there any other oils besides Frankincense? I am out of that one. Thanks for all your help,

Jessica - I have intentionally gotten a tiny bit of Lavender oil in my older kids eyes...( and my own!) It kicks pink eye in two applications... we put a partial drop on the lashes...blink blink...and put a cold rag over your eyes. it burns when it gets in…so I wouldn't do it on a baby.

HOWEVER  --- if mom is still breastfeeding... BREAST MILK is THE best pink eye cure EVER ! Just express some milk into a small cup and drip it into his eye.

If this were MY CHILD... I would do breast milk every hour or two... and support with oils every few hours as well.

Kathy - That’s the worst feeling when after using an oil, the symptoms seem to get worse.  Often it is a reaction to the oils working.  I don't know what was suggested, but I would consider Lavender, Helichrysum or Frankincense.  None of these are comfortable in the eye, but around the socket they are good.  You can use carrier too.  With a small child, the hard thing will be keeping his hands away from irritated eyes.  It's like torture.

I would also have Cleansing Blend running (diffuser) by him all the time.  You are right frequency is the key.  The sad part about antibiotics is that they are harsh in so many other ways.  And as you use them, your body becomes less reactive to there efficacy.  Plus, as his eyes do clear, you will never know for sure where the healing came from.

BK - Reflexology is perfect for children.  The eyes are especially responsive to reflexology.  The zone for eyes is found on the ball of the foot on the pad just at the base of the 2nd and 3rd toes (if the big toe is considered the 1st). I would also massage the 1st and 2nd toe. (both feet)  I would use the oils suggested above and work that zone area pretty aggressively for 1/2 hour at a time 3 times daily if possible.  I really like the advise of diffusing Cleansing Blend in the room.  These oils really do work!!!

Rob - Lavender should be a very helpful and powerful oil for pink eye or conjunctivitis. The earlier you catch it, the more helpful it will be at working through the inflammation. Also treatment might be quick or take some time depending on if the inflammation is allergy induced, or an infection either viral or bacterial (least likely).

I love the suggestions here so far.  Reflexology has been shown to be very effective with the eye.  I had never heard of the breast milk, but wow.  Wouldn't it make sense that God made that an effective treatment.  The diffuser is a great idea, and if there is any suspicion that the inflammation is allergy induced, application of Lemon, Peppermint and Lavender on the bottom of the feet and with a diffuser could be helpful.

Jessica - You will find that breast milk and oils work GREAT together! Breast milk is also FABULOUS for EAR infections...just drop it right in! and ANY skin infection will benefit from a breast milk soaked paper owl!

I have also had GREAT success with equal parts of Frankincense, Myrrh and White Fir for pink eye...rub around bony part, same as before.

When Joleen saw her daughter Emily, she was almost shocked.  Her eye was bloodshot, swollen and leaking goopy tears.  She knew right away it was pink eye.

“Does it your eye hurt?”  Joleen asked Emily.

“No.”  She said with a big smile and a slow blink from the infected eye.  “Well, it kinda itches.” She said with a swipe to the eye. 

“Don’t touch it sweetheart!”  Joleen said in almost a panic.

“Lets wash your hands.” 

Joleen lifted Emily to the sink, and helped her wash her hands, she then got a paper towel, wet it and dabbed carefully around the eye.

“I’m going to put some oils on it sweetie.” 

:”Ok.”  Emily replied almost nonchalantly.

Joleen washed her own hands well, then picked out the Cleansing Blend and Melaleuca.  She dripped a drop or two of each into her right palm, dabbed her index finger in the blend then carefully wiped along the bottom of the eye socket, then just below the eye brow.  She even put oils on the outside of the other eye, knowing how contagious pink eye was, and that it could spread easily.  She then took the Eucalyptus and rubbed a few drops to the reflexology points on Emily's feet.  In this case, the two toes next to the big toe and the big toe.   She then put socks on her feet.

Joleen was suddenly glad that school had ended just a week earlier.  She talked to Emily about staying in for a while, and about resisting the urge to touch her eye.  “I’m going to get you a pirate patch to there till your eye is better.  Won’t that be fun!”

Emily shrugged uninterested.

Joleen left Emily’s older sister to watch her while she went to the pharmacy.  Joleen got a hard shell eye patch and some cotton pads.

When she got home, she applied the oils exactly as she had done early, and then put 2 drops each of Cleansing Blend and Melaleuca on 1/3 of a cotton pad.  She then placed the cotton pad over Emily’s eye, with the side that she had placed the drops on facing outward so the fresh oil wouldn’t be on her eye lid.  She then carefully adjusted the eye patch over her eye and the pad.

“If you need to itch this, come to me and I will help you. Ok?” 

Emily nodded, then dashed off to her room.

Joleen repeated the procedure she had just done 3 more times till it was bed time. 

She then put the oil diffuser by Emily’s bed side and put Protective Blend in it.  She had thought Protective Blend would be good for the infection in the patch, but was concerned that the aroma would be irritating to the eye.  That night she helped Emily say a prayer that God would help her eye heal.  She felt proud that she had the oils and knew what to do with them.

Joleen knew that the aroma from the pad in the patch would penetrate tissues and attack the infection.  Just before tucking Emily in, she also put 3 drops of Oregano instead of Eucalyptus, on her reflexology points on her toes.

The next morning, Emily woke Joleen.  The patch was gone and although the redness was not totally gone, Emily’s eye looked much better.  Joleen continued the oils around the eye a couple times a day till there was no sign of the infection, even then she applied the oils to both eyes a couple more times. 

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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.