What to Eat to Get Rid of Pink Eye, Which Can Be Caused by COVID-19

|Updated Oct 9, 2020
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When Vice President Mike Pense showed up at the debate with a left eye swollen nearly shut and beet red at the Vice Presidential debate, the eye got almost as much play as the fly.

The expert sources were buzzing that pink eye (conjunctivitis) can be linked to COVID-19 and speculated that even if the Veep's test came back negative he could've been too early to produce antibodies. We don't want to fuel those fires. But there are ways to deal with Conjunctivitis that range from home remedies to protective foods. And since it can be caused by either a viral or bacterial infection, take care of your whole immune system to fight of these ailments.

While we can't tell you what to eat to avoid getting pestered by a fly, we can offer these foods to help you recover faster from pink eye--or avoid it from blowing up in the firstplace. As with anything, check with your eye doc before you let it get too far along. This is your eyes we are talking about, people!

What is Pink Eye and How Can You Get It

According to the Mayo Clinic, pink eye (or conjunctivitis) is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane, called the conjunctiva,  that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, they're more visible, causing the whites of your eye to appear red or pink. Pink eye may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection or an allergic reaction. It rarely affects your vision but is highly contagious. Treatments can help ease the discomfort and itching that accompanies pink eye. Early treatment can help limit your spreading it to others.

According to the site Natural Remedies, vitamin D is important in the curing of pink eye.  A study of 48 healthy volunteers measured D in their tears and found that tear contains even more vitamin D than in your blood, leading researchers to believe that D is especially necessary to protect the eyes from damage and disorders or disease. Conversely, vitamin D deficiency is associated with ocular disorders, the study found, so first, you should try to get more vitamin D, from sunlight or your diet.

Adults are recommended to get 600 IU a day, although taking too much D can cause kidney stones and other toxicity in the body. And while you can get vitamin D from food, such as fortified plant milk, vitamin D is found in egg yolks, cheese, cod liver oil, beef liver, and fatty fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel. Yet the amount of vitamin D in these foods is quite small, and of course, if you're following a plant-based diet, you may need a supplement as your best option.

Quercetin from Onions, Tea, and Summer Vegetables Such as Asparagus

The powerful antioxidant quercetin helps your immune system's vital mast cells, which release histamine, which can lead to allergic conjunctivitis. A clinical study was performed to demonstrate the efficacy of a food supplement containing quercetin and D3 vitamin, to treat symptoms of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis related to colds and flu. While that study showed quercetin worked, you don't have to get it from medicine.  Eating onions, capers and drinking tea will provide small amounts of quercetin. Other sources: Summer vegetables, such as asparagus were also good sources of quercetin, which is a promising food component for the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, according to one study.

Other dietary sources of Quercetin include:

  • Apples
  • Parsley
  • Green Pepper
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Black Tea
  • Grapes
  • Asparagus
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Dark cherries
  • Buckwheat
Eat those in abundance to bolster your immune system and fight off pink eye if it does strike.

Curcumin from Turmeric

One study of eye ailments like dry eye and conjunctivitis, patients treated with herbal eye drops found relief by reducing inflammation. Following the basic principles of Ayurvedic medicine, the different herbs were those that have been proven safe for eye drops or washes since time immemorial. These include: Carum copticum, Terminalia belirica, Emblica officinalis, Curcuma longa, Ocimum sanctum, Cinnamomum camphora, Rosa damascena and meldespumapum. These herbs reportedly possess anti-infective and anti-inflammatory properties.

Another application for Conjunctivitis is Omega 7 Oil

All the Omega fatty acids have different strengths –Omega 3 for heart health and Omega 6 for skin health, etc,  but it turns out that Omega 7 fatty acid is effective for killing bacteria. Known for being anti-microbial, Omega-7, a rich oil, is helps to reduce the symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis. According to one study, this fatty acid, also known as sea buckthorn, can help fight the infection that is causing the inflammation. Closing the eye, apply a small amount of oil containing a blend of  Omega-7s topically to the eye to fight the bugs that are causing conjunctivitis – if it is caused by bacteria (viruses won't respond). These special fatty acids can protect against infection, repair damage, and speed up recovery, according to the study.