What is Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)?
Conjunctivitis (Pink eye) is the infection/inflammation of the conjunctiva (transparent membrane) which covers the white part of the eye as well as the membrane on the inner part of the eyelids. It can happen due to infectious and noninfectious causes.
Infectious conjunctivitis is caused by viral or bacterial infection. Noninfectious conjunctivitis is caused by chemical irritation, allergies or other conditions. Infectious conjunctivitis is highly contagious, and is more common in children’s but can occur at any age. Viral infection begins in one eye and spreads in another eye in few days and it mostly resolves on its own within 2 weeks. For bacterial infection, antibiotics are prescribed in the form of pills, eyedrops or even ointments. Always complete the course of medications as directed by your doctor even if the symptoms go away.
Conjunctivitis is very irritating and its treatment helps to ease the discomfort caused by it. As it is highly contagious, so its proper diagnosis and treatment help to limit its spread. Proper hygiene should be maintained in order to prevent conjunctivitis.
Few symptoms of conjunctivitis include eye redness, burning eyes, eye pain, itchy eyes, runny nose, eye discharge, swollen eyelids, increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, etc. In most of the cases, symptoms of pink eye can be treated with the help of certain natural remedies such as honey, cucumber, hot compress, cold compress, turmeric, etc.
Most common symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
- Irritants such as shampoo, smoke, etc.
- In newborns, a blocked tear duct
Several other conditions can cause pink eye such as dry eyes, eye pressure, etc. Conjunctivitis caused by virus or bacteria can spread easily from one person to another. But if diagnosed and treated properly, it is not a serious health risk.
- Don’t touch/rub your eyes with your hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose while coughing, sneezing, etc.
- Wash your hands often especially before eating.
- Avoid wearing eye makeup.
- Never share your eye cosmetics with anyone.
- Never wear another person’s contact lens.
- Use a clean towel and washcloth daily.
- Don’t share your towels or washcloths with anyone.
- Wash your pillowcase, bed linens and towels in hot water
- Change your pillowcases often.
- Don’t share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.
- Wash your hands after applying any ointment or eye drops to your infected eye.
- Don’t use eye drops in a non-infected eye which was used before for infected eye.
- Green Tea: Green Tea is packed with bioflavonoids and antioxidants. It helps to reduce the infection and also reduces inflammation. Steep a green tea bag and let it cool. Place the tea bag in the affected area and relax for 10-15 minutes. Then discard the tea bag after use. It will ease the infection and reduce swelling.
- Honey: Honey has antibiotic and antibacterial properties. It is very great for the treatment of conjunctivitis. Add 3 tsp of honey to 2 cups of boiling water. Let it boil and then cool it. Use this mixture to wash the eyes. It will speed up the healing process.
- Milk: Milk calms inflammation and has a very soothing effect on eyes. Dip 2 cotton balls in cold milk and place them on affected eyes. Try this daily for few days. It is the best remedy used for the natural treatment of conjunctivitis.
- Cucumber: Cucumber treats inflammation and eye irritation. It is the most common home remedy to treat conjunctivitis. Cut 2 slices of cucumber, put it in cold water for few minutes and then place those slices on your closed eyelids. Let it be there for few minutes. It will relax the infected eyes.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera has antibiotic and astringent properties. It relieves the inflammation caused by conjunctivitis because of its soothing effect. It also helps to clear out the infection with its immune boosting properties. Boil 1 glass of water, let it cool and then add fresh chunks of aloe vera gel in it. Blend it and put few drops of the mixture in affected eyes twice or thrice daily. You can also use this mixture as an eyewash.
Treatment for pink eye depends on its causes. Bacteria, virus, allergies, and irritants are few of its causes. In most of the cases, conjunctivitis can be treated with the help of few home remedies such as honey, milk, aloe vera, hot compress, cold compress, cucumber, garlic, turmeric, eye drops, etc.
Avoid eye makeup, avoid cosmetic creams, don’t wear contact lenses, don’t touch/rub your eyes with hands, wash your hands frequently especially before eating, etc are few things to be followed in order to prevent conjunctivitis.
Different treatment for different causes includes:
Bacteria: Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria requires antibiotics. It includes levofloxacin (Quixin), ciprofloxacin (Ciloxan), azithromycin (Azasite), tobramycin (Tobrex), Besifloxacin (Besivance), moxifloxacin (Vigamox) and others. Antibiotics are prescribed in the form of pills, eyedrops or even ointments. Complete the course as directed by your doctor even if the symptoms go away.
Virus: Conjunctivitis caused by virus requires no medication in most of the cases. It resolves on its own within 2 weeks. Viral conjunctivitis usually begins with one eye and infects the other eye in few days. In few case, doctors prescribe antibiotics is if it caused by herpes simplex virus.
Allergies: In the case of allergic conjunctivitis doctors prescribe eye drops. It includes antihistamines or anti-inflammatory medicines. Antihistamines control allergic reaction. Medicines such as decongestants, steroids, and anti-inflammatory drops control inflammation.