WebMD advises using cold or warm compresses as the best way to reduce pain due to pinkeye. A cold compress may feel best if the problem is due to an allergy. If an infection is to blame, a warm, moist compress reduces redness and swelling. Because warm, moist compresses can spread infections from one eye to the other, it is best to use a different compress for each eye and a clean compress for each application.
Properly cleaning the eye involves wiping from the corner of the eye nearest the nose toward the outside corner of the eye, using a clean surface for each wipe so that the removed fluid does not spread back into the eye, explains WebMD. Dispose of tissues or wipes immediately. If using a washcloth, put it in the laundry right away to ensure no one else uses it. After cleaning, wash hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of infection.
This home treatment is most practicable if a doctor diagnoses the pinkeye as virus-related, as noted by WebMD. Symptoms should begin to improve within three to five days. If the doctor diagnoses bacteria as the cause of the distress, he prescribes antibiotics to clear up the infection.