Conjunctivitis is also commonly known as Pinkeye. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva in the eyes. Conjunctiva is a thin clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids over the white part of the eye (sclera). Conjunctivitis is when there is inflammation in the conjunctiva. The eyes infected with pink eyes have its conjunctiva swollen or irritated.
When an eye is infected with conjunctiva, the small blood vessels are inflamed. They are swollen and they become more visible. This gives the eyes reddish or a pinkish hue. This is why conjunctivitis is often referred to as pink eye or red eye.
Conjunctivitis is a very common condition and isn’t generally serious. School going children are the ones that are immediately affected by conjunctivitis as they are highly contagious and spread rapidly. It is rarely serious and does not damage the vision of the infected. If proper medication is taken, Pink eyes cure without leaving any long-term side effects.
On the other hand, if any newborn baby is down with conjunctivitis it could be a serious problem as their tissues and membranes are very delicate and tender. So, a doctor has to be consulted immediately to clear up the infection.
Pink Eye Treatment :
Depending on the cause for a pink eye, the treatment must be given accordingly.
Bacterial conjunctivitis may clear out even without medication. But an Antibiotic eye drops may be prescribed. In small children an antibiotic eye ointment is used as this can be administered easily. In both cases, a doctor’s instruction has to be followed. The antibiotics may be a certain period to prevent a return of the infection. Even if the eye looks better the treatment must be continued for some time.
A pink eye caused by virus takes its own course. Sometimes antiviral medications may be prescribed. But the virus needs to run its course, which may last for 2 or 3 weeks. It often starts with one eye and then contaminates the other eye. The symptoms will eventually clear up.
In case of the infections in children, it is vital to have their eyes checked to confirm that they are healing.
If the pink eye is caused by an allergy, an eye drops or drugs containing medications may be prescribed to control the allergic reactions and inflammation.
How to treat Pink Eye at home
Pink eye may be treated with some of the following remedies unless it is severe.
1. An ice pack Compress
A lint-free cloth soaked in cool water may be pressed gently on the closed eyelids. If only one eye is affected with pinkeye, the compress should be kept away from the other one, as it could get infected. A warm compress also may be used depending on one’s own comfort. But too hot water could worsen the pinkeye.
The compress should be used for a few minutes at a time, quite a few times a day. It should be seen that no one else uses the compress cloth.
2. Use Eye Drops
The itching caused by conjunctivitis may be treated at home with an over-the-counter eye drops. Tips to remember when using over-the-counter eye drops-
- The “lubricating” or “artificial tears” eye drops
- An eye drop that advertises to treat “red eyes” should be avoided as it makes the pinkeye to get better for a while but worsen later
- If the pinkeye is caused by allergies, refrigerating the eye drops may work well.
3. Avoid wearing contact lenses
Wearing contact lenses should be avoided until the pinkeye clears up. To be on the safer side the contact lens case may need to be thrown away as the bacteria and viruses may be living in it. So, it is better to switch to glasses until the pink eye is healed.
4. Wash Up
If the pink eye is allergic conjunctivitis, it’s very essential to wash clothes and pillowcases regularly. Showering or bathing before going to bed might also help. If the source of the allergy is known, it has to be avoided.
5. Maintaining good hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene becomes very important during conjunctivitis. Washing hands regularly, not sharing towels, handkerchiefs, contact lenses and eye cosmetics.
The children affected by pink eye must be restrained from going to school as it may worsen with polluted air and dust, also infect the fellow students.
Home Remedies for Conjunctivitis Treatment (Pink Eye Treatment):
Following effective home remedies may be used to treat pink eye:
Tulsi is also called holy basil, is famous for its healing powers. Its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties protect the eyes from damages caused by free radicals in the environment. It is so powerful that it fights against viral, bacterial and fungal infections in the eyes.
Tulsi leaves soaked should be for 10 minutes in boiled water. Then the water may be used as an eyewash. A clean cotton pad or washcloth may be soaked in the water and used as a warm compress.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is enriched with bioflavonoids helps to relieve irritation and inflammation caused by pink eye. A green tea bag dipped in boiled water may be placed on the infected eye after it is cool enough to be touched. A warm compress may be made by soaking a clean wash-cloth in a cup of green tea.
3. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel contains components like aloin and amodin which a laden with antibacterial and antiviral properties. Aloe Vera benefits in reducing inflammation and speeds up the healing process.
When the signs of pink eye are notices, Aloe Vera gel should be placed around the eye and eyelid. Aloe Vera gel may be used on human corneal cells safely. Aloe Vera extracts may also be used for treating inflammation and external eye ailments in the form of eye drops.
Turmeric with its healing compounds reduces inflammation. It is also enriched with antibacterial properties that can cure pink eye symptoms. A warm compress may be made with a clean cotton pad or washcloth. Two spoons of turmeric added in boiling water must be used to soak the washcloth.
5. Neem Oil
Neem oil with its soothing and gentle properties relieves the irritated skin. It is also enriched with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial components that help in relieving the symptoms of conjunctivitis. Wiping neem oil around the eye and eyelid before bed gives a huge relief for pink eye.
6. Make a Poultice
A wrap combining raw honey with herbs like chamomile, fennel and, calendula provide major relief of pink eye. Honey has antimicrobial properties while the herbs support in soothing.
This is one of the best and common home remedies for pink eye. Cucumber is effective in treating eye irritation and inflammation. Two slices of cucumber must be placed in ice-cold water for around 10 minutes. Then, these cucumber slices should be placed on the closed eyelids.
8. Coriander seeds
Coriander seeds are beneficial in removing the crust formed in the morning caused by the dried up mucus. Soak a spoon of coriander seeds overnight and the soaking water must be applied on the eyelids with a cotton pad. This softens the crust and also cools the burn in the eyes.
The water extracts of marigold have extraordinary antioxidant properties, detoxifying and cleansing action on conjunctivitis. It helps in fighting inflammation caused by bacteria, and viruses. Marigold flowers may be used as an eyewash or compress to soothe irritation during conjunctivitis. I tsp. dried marigold flowers must be boiled in a cup of water for 5–10 minutes.
Once the tea cools down, it may be used as an eyewash or a compress 3–4 times a day.
Potatoes have astringent properties so they can dry and disinfect the pink eye. They also help to reduce the inflammation caused by conjunctivitis. Peel and cut a potato into thin slices. The slices should be placed on the affected eye. This gives best results if it is repeated for 3 consecutive nights. A poultice may be made by grating and wrapping the potato in cheesecloth or a muslin cloth. The poultice gives best results. Just place it on the infected eye for 20 minutes.
Those people allergic to potatoes should avoid this remedy as it may worsen the case.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
Pink eye may affect one or both the eyes. Depending on the cause of a pink eye, the symptoms may vary. The general symptoms of pink eye are listed below.
- Burning and itchiness in the eyes
- A thick, sticky mucus-like discharge
- A swelling in the lymph node under the jaw or in front of the ear.
- Redness in both eyes
- Slight vision blurring
- An uncomfortable feeling
- Formation of crust by the sticky discharge during the night which causes a difficulty in opening the infected eye in the morning
- Extreme tearing
- Puffiness in the eyelid
- Sensitivity in light exposure
The above symptoms may be accompanied by a cough, earache, runny nose, sinus congestion etc.
Causes of Conjunctivitis
Pink eyes may occur by any of the following causes:
- Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis may be caused either by virus or bacteria. A watery discharge is the primary symptom of both infections. The leading cause of conjunctivitis is the viral infections caused by Adenoviruses and have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection or cold.
Bacterial conjunctivitis produces a thicker discharge with a tone of yellow-green. Both of these infections may be accompanied by sore throats and colds.
Conjunctivitis caused by virus and bacteria are highly contagious through direct or indirect contact with eye fluid discharges from the infected person.
- Allergic conjunctivitis
Allergy-causing substance such as pollen or animal dander may affect both eyes with conjunctivitis. As a reaction, the body generates an antibody called immunoglobulin E, which activates the release of inflammatory substances like histamines from cells present in the mucous lining of the eyes. Symptoms of intense itching, inflammation, swelling, tearing and sneezing, and a watery nasal discharge are influenced by histamine.
- Traumatic conjunctivitis
An introduction of a foreign object or a chemical injury in the eye may cause conjunctivitis. This results in redness and a mucous discharge.
- Neonatal conjunctivitis
Newborn babies may be affected by pink eye in the first month of life. Such a case must be immediately assessed by a pediatric ophthalmologist as it is a potential threat to vision.