If you notice that your eyes have turned itchy and red overnight, then it could be because of contracting dreaded conjunctivitis or pink eye. It is a highly contagious infection that spreads quickly among people. Pink eye is caused due to bacterial infection, an allergic reaction, and viral infection. This infection is mostly seen in new-born babies. Its severity differs from one person to another. It is accompanied by a yellowish discharge that prevents you open eyes after a good night’s sleep.
To prevent the loss of vision, it requires you to treat the condition immediately. With proper preventive care and treatment, the symptoms can subside on its own without the need for any medical treatment. In this article, we are going to share with you a few natural remedies that help treat conjunctivitis naturally.
What Is Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis?
Pink eye is a term used to describe the condition wherein the eye gets red in color. This condition is seen as the inflammation of the conjunctiva. It is a thin translucent layer that conceals the white area of the eyes and the interior of the eyelids. Children between the age of three and thirteen years are at a high risk of developing this ailment.
This condition can cause blurred damage but it won’t damage the vision of the person. In other words, it does not cause any harm to the eye health of a person. A relieving thing about this condition is that it is temporary. Regular use of home remedies will give you complete relief from the itchiness, inflammation, and discomfort in just two weeks.
Pink eye is an unpleasant condition. If you notice yellowish or greenish pus discharge then it indicates a bacterial infection. On the other hand, if you notice white or clear discharge then it due to the development of viral infection in that area. Whatever may be the cause, itching and redness are the common signs that you are going to notice in this condition.
Types Of Pink Eye
Depending on the cause, the Pink Eye is classified into five key types.
- Viral Conjunctivitis – This type of conjunctivitis is caused due to viral infection. It is the most commonly seen type of conjunctivitis. The infection begins in one eye and gradually spreads in the other eye too. Viral infections mostly resolve on their own in just one to three weeks of time.
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis – This is a bacteria-induced infection. It is easy to recognize. In this case, the eyes produce thick pus, while in case of viral-induced infection the discharge looks clear and watery. In most of the cases, the condition impacts only one eye. There are high possibilities that the other eye gets infected too. These types of infections may take two to five days to improve without treatment. You may take antibiotic eye drops to accelerate healing.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis – This type of conjunctivitis is triggered due to an allergy. It can lead to tearing, redness, and itchiness in both eyes. This type of infection improves when a person gets rid of the allergen from the infected eye.
- Ophthalmia Neonatorum – This type of conjunctivitis affects babies. It is usually passed from infected mothers to their babies at the time of delivery.
- Giant Papillary – It is caused due to prolonged use of contact lenses.
Signs Of Pink Eye
If you are suspicious of whether or not you have contracted pink eyes, then here are a few signs that would confirm it.
- Inflammation and redness in the white area of the eyes and the inner region of the eyelid
- Swollen conjunctiva
- Tearing of the affected eye
- A thick yellow discharge that forms a layer on your eyelashes after your sleep
- Whitish or greenish discharge from the impacted eye
- A burning sensation in the affected eye
- Blurred vision
- Heightened sensitivity to light
- Swollen lymph nodes present near ears or below the jaw bone
Causes Of Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis is triggered by a wide range of factors. Here we have listed the commonest factors associated with the onset of pink eye.
- Irritants that includes chlorinated pool, smoke, dirt, and specific cosmetics and shampoos
- An allergy to eye drops
- An allergic reaction to pollen, pet dander, dust, smoke, etc.
- Fungi, parasites, and amoeba
- Exposure to specific allergens
- Close contact with people who are infected with bacterial or viral conjunctivitis
- Extended use of contact lenses
- In a few cases, this infection can also be due to a sexually transmitted ailment like gonorrhea. Such kind of pink eye may result in vision loss when not treated quickly.
Natural Treatment To Treat Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis
1. Use A Cool Compress
Pinkeye results in inflammation in the area that surrounds the eye. This sensation can be painful and irritating. Use a damp and cool compress to lessen inflammation and calm the eye. Here are the steps to use cold compress:
- Soak a clean hand towel or washcloth in cool or warm water
- Wring it out to remove any excess water
- Now place it over your eyes.
- Let it stay for some minutes
- Remove it from the eye. Finally, wash your hands with a soap
- Before you use the same washcloth to repeat the process, you should always launder them in hot water. This will prevent any possibility of spreading the infection or reinfection in your eyes.
2. Clean Eyes With Damp Cloth
In a bacterial infection, you may see thick pus to leak from the infected eye. This pus hardens overnight and creates difficulties in opening up the eyes, especially in the morning. To relieve this situation, you should soak a clean washcloth in warm water. Use it to remove the pus present around the eyes and eyelashes. It will help reduce the discomfort to some extent.
3. Use Eye Drops
Lubricating eye drops are beneficial to get relief from pink eye. It soothes burning sensation or irritation in the eyes. It helps eliminate allergens, discharge, and irritants. These drops help with an annoying itching sensation. Preserve them in the refrigerator.
4. Warm Compress
Cold compress is again a potent natural remedy that can help treat conjunctivitis quickly. It works by reducing the inflammation and cleansing the infected eye. Soak a clean washcloth in hot water (sustainable temperature) and place it over your infected eye/eyes for ten minutes. Now remove the compress. Perform the remedy twice or thrice daily.
5. Apply Breast Milk
Breast milk has remarkable antibiotic properties that make it very effective to treat infections in new-borns. The topical application of the milk on the eyes helps treat epiphora and conjunctivitis. You need to apply a few drops of breast milk into the infected eye of your baby. Allow the baby to blink the eyes to let it away. Do it once or twice a day.
6. Apply Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera has ethyl acetate and ethanol extracts that show remarkable anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. It assists in the treatment of ophthalmologic conditions such as conjunctivitis. Apply the gel all around the lower and upper eyelids. Let it stay for fifteen minutes and rinse off with water. Repeat the process once or twice daily.
7. Apply Diluted Turmeric Solution
Turmeric has curcumin that shows with anti-allergic properties. It helps suppress the signs of allergic conjunctivitis in the body. To use this remedy, you would need a tsp of turmeric powder and dilute it in a glass of warm water.
Now soak a clean washcloth in this solution. Remove the excess water from the cloth. Place this warm compress on your infected eyes for fifteen minutes. Perform the remedy once or twice daily to see optimum benefits.
8. Apply Green Tea Bags
Green tea is another effective natural remedy to treat conjunctivitis. It contains flavonoids that lower swelling and inflammation in the eyes. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial nature of the tea helps alleviate the signs of a pink eye.
All you need is to take a few used green tea bags and cool them in a refrigerator. Now place these cold tea bags over your eyelids. Leave it on for twenty minutes. Repeat the process once or twice a day.
9. Apply Diluted Honey
Honey shows remarkable anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help heal the pink eye and its signs naturally. For this remedy, you will need to prepare a mixture of a tsp of organic honey and a tbsp of distilled water. Place a drop of the mixture on your infected eyes. Do it two times daily to see the best outcome.
Note: It is important to complete the medical treatment for pink eyes and use the above natural remedies to assist the continuing treatments.
When Should You See A Doctor?
In a majority of cases, the symptoms of pinkeye resolve on its own. However, in the severe condition when even after performing the natural remedies, the stubborn signs don’t subside then you need medical attention.
People who have sluggish immune systems or a past of eye ailments must check with a doctor to get the right treatment. Also, infants who show pinkeye signs should see a doctor. If your new-borns have caught this infection then you must seek urgent medical assistance. Adults should check with a doctor if the below-mentioned symptoms last for more than a week.
- yellowish or greenish discharge from the eye
- painful sensation in the eyes
- diminished vision
- sensitivity to light
- an infected person is less than five years old
- body pain
Ophthalmologists are equipped with the necessary instruments and knowledge to provide you a complete evaluation. They will properly evaluate the symptoms of the disease to tell whether you need any antibiotics.
When going to a doctor for a check-up, make note of the signs that you are experiencing well in advance along with the timeline when you had contracted the ailment. Once the physician determines that the infection is bacterial or viral and prescribes you the right medication, then you are well on the way to get healthy and clear-eyes.
Tips To Prevent Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis can reoccur again if you do not maintain proper hygiene. Here are a few tips that will help prevent pink eye infection from developing or redeveloping in the eyes.
- Wash your hands many times a day.
- Change the pillowcases several times a day.
- Do not share towels.
- Always use clean towels on each use.
- Do not reuse any eye cosmetics eye makeup that you have used while treating the infection.
- Wash hands with lukewarm water and soap several times a day.
- Change the pillowcase daily till you recover fully.
- Do not touch your eyes with your fingers.
- Do not share your towel, eye makeup, and clothes with others as it may spread the infection.
- Do not wear contact lenses.
- Do not use any allergen that could cause you an infection.
- Do not send the child to school until the signs disappear completely.
- Early treatment is the sure-shot way to battle conjunctivitis quickly and avoid complications.
- Take zinc supplements.
- Flush your eyes several times a day with clean water.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Hydrate yourself adequately for a speedy recovery.
Ways To Avoid Spread Of Pink Eye
As Pink Eye is highly contagious in nature, you should adopt methods to prevent it from spreading to others:
- Change pillowcases so that the infection doesn’t pass to others.
- Avoid close contact at work, school, or home until the problem solves completely.
- Wash your hands quite often
- Do not touch or rub the affected eye
- Change or wash bedding, that includes pillowcases, comforters, and sheets
- Use clean towels
- Wash your towels, napkins, and clothes daily
- Do not wear contact lenses
- Avoid putting on makeup
Frequently Asked Questions on Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis
1. What is the medical treatment prescribed to treat pink eyes?
The type of treatments that your doctor advises treating the infection depends on its causes and signs. The main objective of the treatment is to improve the signs.
You could be asked to wash your eyes several times a day. Furthermore, your doctor may also prescribe you antibiotic eye drops and artificial tears if he finds that you suffer from bacterial conjunctivitis. If you have viral conjunctivitis due to herpes simplex virus then he may prescribe you antiviral medicines. Anti-inflammatory drops, antihistamines, and decongestants are helpful to treat allergic conjunctivitis.
2. How long will the pink eye last?
This infection lasts anywhere from five days to fifteen days before you notice a reduction in its signs.
3. What type of eye drops is effective to treat conjunctivitis?
Artificial tears are commonly used in over-the-counter medicine to treat conjunctivitis. If the condition is due to any viral infection, then your doctor may prescribe you antiviral drops. If the condition is due to a bacterial infection, then antibiotic eye drops would be the best treatment to cure the condition. If the infection is caused due to an allergy, then anti-inflammatory and antihistamines eye drops are the best line of treatment.
4. What is the right time to consult a doctor for conjunctivitis?
You need immediate medical assistance if a new-born baby or infant is affected by the condition. This is a critical situation as it can lead to loss of vision too. If you are an adult suffering from this condition and do not find any improvement in the condition even after fifteen days, then you should consult a doctor for further treatment.
5. Will pink eye resolve on its own?
In a majority of cases, pink eyes go away naturally without any need for treatment. It is important that you take the necessary measures to prevent the infection from spreading. However, if a new-born or a child contracts it, then you should get immediate consultation from the doctor.
6. When should I resume my work or school while suffering from conjunctivitis?
The pink eye is contagious in nature. Once the signs of the infection subside completely, then it is safe to return to school or work. However, you must implement good hygiene precautions for some days to avoid yourself more again contracting it and to prevent its spreading.
Allergies, bacteria, and viruses lead to pinkeye. The redness, pain, and itchiness can bring a lot of discomfort to you. If you have been suspected of having pinkeye, then you can easily treat it with the above mentioned remedies.
Irrespective of the cause, with these simple steps you will definitely start to feel better. You will notice that its symptoms will disappear in a week or ten days. However, if you don’t notice any reduction in the discomfort, then don’t wait to get a medical consultation.
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