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How to Deal With Sore Eyes

Twelve days ago, my eldest son, Emmuel, complained of itchy eyes. When I looked at them, I saw a little yellowish eye secretion, what we call “muta” in Tagalog. I immediately told him that he appeared to have symptoms of sore eyes. It must be because there are many cases of sore eyes in their school. And just before he came home, he went out to do a school project with a classmate who was infected with sore eyes.

This type of sore eyes (other names are conjunctivitis and pink eye) is a viral infection. (Learn about the other types of pink eye in this article). It is contagious and can spread directly or indirectly. Direct spreading means touching the infected person’s eye and touching your eye. Indirect spreading means touching something, towel or pillow, that an infected person touched with his infected hands, then you touch your eyes.  The good thing is that sore eyes infection is not airborne. This means that it is possible for other members of our family not to be infected with sore eyes, even if we have someone in the house who has it.

How to avoid having sore eyes

The secret to not having sore eyes is good hygiene. I specifically told my children to do these:

  • They should always keep their hands clean. Wash them with soap and water. Afterward, they can also sanitize them with alcohol.
  • If ever they feel like touching their eyes, they should make sure that they wash their hands first. When they feel that their eyes are itchy, they should immediately wash them with plain water or water with a little-dissolved salt and avoid rubbing them.
  • They should not use the stuff that the person with sore eyes used, i.e. towel, pillow, blanket, etc. Including gadgets especially the tablet that is touch-screen capable.
  • They should avoid contact with the person who has sore eyes, in this case, their big brother.

Unfortunately, even with constant reminders, some members of our family still got infected with sore eyes. The next one was Janel, then Yuan, then Angel and then their daddy. Kristel and I managed to keep ourselves from infection so far. I’m not yet discounting the possibility since daddy still has it as of this writing.

How to treat sore eyes


My brother who is an optometrist told us that sore eyes is a self-limiting eye problem. That means that it will resolve by itself in a matter of days. My children have varying healing times, from 3 to 7 days. No medicine is actually necessary. However, some doctors may prescribe antiviral, anti-inflammatory or antibiotic eye drops. The antibiotic eye drop is for bacterial infections, if any. Some eye drops that we have experienced using are Vigamox (antibacterial) and Maxitrol (anti-inflammatory and antibacterial). My brother also recommends using Tobradex (antibacterial and anti-inflammatory).

Home Remedies

As for home remedies, you can simply prepare warm water and add a little salt, then use this to wash the eye directly or dip cotton balls in this salt solution and wipe the eye. Do this when washing away the sticky eye secretions “muta” that glue the eyelids together, especially after waking up in the morning. This salt solution is good for eye because salt has antibacterial property also.

When the eyes are puffy or inflamed or very, very itchy, I boil some water and put it in a bottle. I told the kids to use it as a warm compress on the eye. Wrap the bottle with a thin cloth, if it is too hot. The heat will give relief to the itchy eye. The anti-inflammatory component of the eye drop addresses the puffy eye symptoms.

It’s very important to note in case of sore eyes:  NEVER RUB THE EYE with your hand or with anything else (ice, maybe) to avoid aggravating the sore eye.


Well, it’s been a long and tiring 2 weeks. The kids had to stay home one after the other to avoid passing on the virus to their classmates. They had to catch up with school lessons and exams, too.

How about you? Has any one of your family got infected by sore eyes? I hope not. Take care!


Elizabeth O. said…
Sore eyes really is a product of germs. It’s irritating and painful too, so I make sure my hands are always clean before I even try to rub my eyes.
ceemee said…
Thanks for these tips. Thankfully, the kids don’t have sore eyes. But, they had HFMD, though. And it’s also tiring and they need to catch up on lessons and quizzes since it’s very contagiuous.
Chin chin said…
I’ve heard about HFMD (hand, foot and mouth disease) before when my husband’s niece had it here in the Philippines. I searched the internet after you’ve mentioned it and I think one of my daughters had it last week. Well, maybe, because of blisters she suddenly had after having fever. But she’s ok now. I hope your kids are ok, too.
Michi said…
This is one thing that I don’t want my son to experience because it means two weeks of rest. It is hard to catch up with lessons especially we have no special quizzes or seatwork.
JessDC said…
Thanks for the tips. I remember that last month I looked for different drug stores just to buy eye drops, but out of stock always. “Nagkakaubusan lagi” as per the pharmacist.
Chin chin said…
I guess it’s because marami talagang nagka-sore eyes last 2 months.
Nilyn Matugas said…
Gosh, I hate sore eyes so much, sobrang sakit sa mata! And when I was young, I really thought that you get infected just by looking at the person’s eyes. lol!
Chin chin said…
I thought so, too. Ha ha.
Dominique Goh said…
I had sore eyes before as I was infected by my son back then and it was certainly horrible. I had to go to the doctor for special eyedrops and treatment before it went away.
Mommy Maye said…
I had sore eyes too. My son got the virus first. But it didn’t spread in our home. I used honey and serpetina leaves to wash our eyes. After 3 days our eyes are cleared.
Chin chin said…
Honey and serpetina leaves – good of you, Mommy Maye, to use natural remedies for sore eyes. Where do you get serpetina leaves?
theresa said…
We have 1/8 case of the school’s population having sore eyes. And two of my co-teacher had them already. Good thing I got an injection few months ago and they said that it’s a protection for sore eyes and the like. I think it’s sore eyes season this time.
Chin chin said…
I didn’t know that there is a vaccine for sore eyes also??
Melgie said…
My daughter got a sore eyes not to long ago and it was painful to look at. Sore Eyes is very contagious that my son started getting them in like 2 days. We got medicine and your right always keep your hands clean. I hope we don’t get it again. thanks for this post Sis
Marie said…
I had adenoviral conjunctivitis 5 years ago and it was terrible. this pink eyes is far worse than the normal conjunctivitis. I thought it was getting better but after four days I woke up with blood shot eyes. Like fresh blood was all over my eyes (you cant see the white). This is highly contagious and I had to be off work for like a month.
Chin chin said…
That is a terrible pink eye. My husband had a little blood shot in the eye, but thank God it was gone in about a week.
Mark said…
Very useful post. Our neighbors kids have sore eyes and as much as possible we don’t let our nephews and niece to get to play with them. Heard the medicines for sores eyes are almost sold out from drugstores.
Chin chin said…
Not letting the kids play with others who have sore eyes can help prevent getting the sore eyes.

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