While some people suggest apple cider vinegar could help relieve symptoms of pink eye, there is no clinical research to support these claims. People should avoid putting apple cider vinegar in the eye as it may cause irritation or damage.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an acidic substance made from fermented apples. People often use it to flavor and preserve food.

Some claims suggest it may have some health benefits. While apple cider vinegar may have some medicinal properties, it is not a suitable treatment for many conditions, such as pink eye (conjunctivitis).

This article examines whether people should use ACV for pink eye and other remedies and tips for healing pink eye. It also provides prevention methods and when to contact a doctor.

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Experts advise that people should not put ACV — in its purest form or diluted solution — in their eyes. It is likely to worsen an eye condition, such as pink eye.

If vinegar gets in the eyes, irritation and redness are common side effects, and corneal injury may occur.

Some people may wish to try mixing apple cider vinegar with water and applying it to a closed eye. However, there is no research to support the benefits. Overall, doctors do not recommend this remedy, as the risks likely outweigh the possible benefits in case there is contact with the eye.

Most cases of pink eye may heal on their own within 1–2 weeks. However, other home treatment options include:

Learn more about home remedies for pink eye.

If someone has pink eye, they should consult a healthcare professional for treatment to avoid any possible complications. The above remedies may help manage symptoms.

Certain methods may help pink eye heal quickly, such as:

  • stopping wearing contact lenses, as they may cause further irritation
  • avoiding eye makeup, as it may worsen the infection
  • following home remedies above, such as using compresses, eye drops, and keeping the eyes clean

There is no one way to prevent pink eye, as several causes may lead to it. Prompt diagnosis and treatment help prevent the condition from worsening.

A person can take the following steps to avoid reinfection:

  • disposing and replacing any eye or face makeup or makeup brushes
  • replacing disposable contact lenses, cases, and lens solution
  • cleaning eyeglasses and cases

In addition, anecdotal evidence suggests a person should thoroughly clean or replace any other eyewear such as eye masks or sunglasses.

Avoid triggers

As some cases of conjunctivitis occur as a result of an irritant or allergen, people can try to avoid allergy triggers. They may want to take antihistamines as a preventive measure.

Similarly, certain chemicals may cause conjunctivitis. People should avoid chemicals and thoroughly flush their eyes if a chemical gets in them. It is best to use sterile saline, but a person can use water in an emergency.

Prevent transmission

Since viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are transmissible, there are also steps people can take to help prevent passing it on by:

  • washing hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoiding touching eyes after washing hands
  • avoiding putting fingers in or rubbing eyes
  • washing the area around the eyes if they have discharge
  • avoiding sharing personal items, such as pillows or towels
  • following guidance from opticians when it comes to eyewear cleaning, storing, and replacing

How long is pink eye contagious?

A person should consult a medical professional if they have conjunctivitis along with any of the following:

Pink eye may be severe in some cases, so doctors will need to make a prompt diagnosis to recommend the most suitable line of treatment.

Learn more about what pink eye looks like.

Medical experts do not recommend apple cider vinegar as a remedy for pink eye. This treatment may worsen symptoms or cause injury or damage.

Alternative remedies involve eye drops, cool or warm compresses, and pain relievers. Other healing methods include stopping wearing lenses and avoiding wearing makeup to prevent further infections.

While preventing all causes of conjunctivitis may be difficult, people can dispose of old eye makeup or brushes, replace contact lenses, or thoroughly wash eyeglasses. Some individuals may also benefit from avoiding allergens or possible triggers causing their symptoms.