Conjunctivitis or most commonly termed as pink eye is an infection of the eyes that is marked with the outer membrane or the Conjunctiva becoming swollen. Prolonged infection leads to a red appearance of eyes (caused by inflammation of the tiny blood vessels), irritation and discharge. Pink eyes don’t affect your vision, but causes great discomfort. It can be either due to viral or bacterial infection or an allergic reaction.
Viral infection is marked with a clear watery discharge, is transmittable and usually doesn’t get healed with antibiotics. Bacterial infection results in a greenish yellow discharge, is also contagious and can be treated with antibiotic eye drops. Both these infections affect both eyes and are often difficult to differentiate from each other.
Allergic pink eyes are caused due to several allergens, like- pollen grains, perfume or animal fur and chemicals like bleach or polish. It affects both eyes and is marked with a clear watery discharge. In the former case, the infection will go once you remove the allergic reaction and in the latter case you need to wash off the eyes immediately to remove the chemicals and calling a doctor.
Home Remedies For Pink Eyes
Pink eyes lead to a great deal of discomfort and the infection will usually run its course. But nowadays, there are many natural remedies to give you comfort and ease the irritation.
Honey comes with a lot of healing properties and has an antimicrobial reaction on a broad range of bacteria and fungi. You can Manuka Honey due to its immense antibacterial, anti inflammatory, antiviral properties and high content of dihydroxyacetone.
You can mix a quarter teaspoon of raw honey with a quarter teaspoon of warm water and a bit of salt. The water should be distilled or you can boil it and let it cool down for sometime before going ahead with the preparation. After that, put two three drops on both eyes through a fresh eye dropper. Repeat this process for every few hours to get optimum results.
- Breast Milk
Breast milk contains an antibody termed as immunoglobulin A. This particular ingredient prevents the conjunctivitis bacteria from attaching itself to the mucosal membrane of the eye. This leads to an end of the infection.
As per clinical research, the antimicrobial reactions of colostrum and breast milk have proved quite beneficial to healing eye infections. You can allow a drop of breast milk to fall over the outer surface of the eye by keeping your eyelids open so that the milk gets time to circulate across the entire area. You can repeat this method till the infection begins to be treated.
- Herbal Tea Poultices
As per medical data, calendula, chamomile, fennel or eyebright teas has been proved very effective in making hot compresses. Eyebright can also be swallowed directly in the form of capsules or taken as pure tea. It is beneficial for a wide range of eye infections and soreness. You can also use tea to wash off your eyes from time to time. You can use the above with distilled water as germs in normal water can lead to several types of secondary infections
- Saline Drops
Water mixed with few amounts of salt is often helpful for pink eye infection. You need to use distilled water for this purpose instead of tap water or normal water. Boil the mixture (one cup of water with a half teaspoon of salt) and let the mixture cool off entirely. Take a fresh eye dropper and put few drops on both eyes. Blink rapidly so that enough of the solution covers your infected surface. You can use the mixture for rinsing the eyes as well. Repeat this process for several times in a day. Make a new solution every day to avoid any chances of contamination.
- Compresses- Warm or Cold
To lessen the tenderness and to get rid of the release of bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, apply a cold or warm compress over each eye repeatedly for several times a day. Ensure that you use separate cotton pads or clothes for each eye, as the infection has great chances of spreading. Use fresh pieces each day and clean the entire eye discharge from interior to exteriors.
Prevention of Pink Eye Infection
Sometimes, you might be a victim to chronic pink eye infections. This might be dues to deficiencies of vitamins A and B (particularly B2). You should then opt for supplements to ensure prevention of such recurrences. Some of the natural sources for vitamin A are cod liver oil etc.
When to Consult a Doctor
Pink eye is usually mild and takes its own time to heal without medical care. Nevertheless, some types are really acute. Such extreme cases need medical supervision and you need to call in a doctor if you have the following symptoms:
- The infection is accompanied by mild to severe pain
- Unclear visualization or increasing sensitivity towards light
- Extreme reddishness in the eye
- If you have a weak immune system
- If you are detected with bacterial pink eye infection and it doesn’t heal after a day of antibiotic application
- The symptoms are persistent and show no signs of improvement
- If you have had previous eye infections and can lead to complications or secondary infections.
- If babies are detected with pink eye symptoms, they should be referred to health care providers.
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