Conjunctivitis or the Pinkeye is a minor infection which includes the redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. Conjunctivitis causes the otherwise clear lining of the eye to become red and swollen due to the infection.
There is no serious danger that comes with Pinkeye, and the infection goes away within 7 to 10 days without any special treatments.
Pinkeye is mainly caused due to the following factors:
- Viral and Bacterial infections
- Dehydrated eyes due to the lack of tears or exposure to wind and sun.
- Chemical conjunctivitis is caused due to chemicals, fumes and smoke.
- Other Allergies.
Pinkeye is a contagious infection, especially the conjunctivitis caused by virus and bacteria. Normally, viral infections are not treated medically, but it is important to prevent it from spreading. Pinkeye can be transformed from person to person by sharing an object such as a washcloth or towel with a person who is infected with pinkeye. Poor hand washing is also a major cause of spread of pinkeye.
The cause of viral Pinkeye is a common respiratory virus knows as Adenovirus. This virus causes sore throat and respiratory infections as well as Pinkeye.
Some of the common symptoms of pinkeye include:
- Redness of the white area of the eyes.
- Swollen eyelids.
- Itching in the eyelids
- Swollen and sensitive ears
- A lot of tearing.
- The drainage of white thick fluid
Viral pinkeye takes almost 5-7 days to go away. However, in some cases it can last as long as 3 weeks or even become persistent. There are some certain conditions that may make your pinkeye more serious and you might need to treat it immediately, such as:
- If you have a medical condition that decreases your body’s resistance against infections.
- Have sight in only one eye.
- Also, if you wear contact lenses.
As we have already read that pinkeye is often not treated by medicine, so it is very important to keep it from spreading. A person with pinkeye can normally return to his/her work within 3-5 days when symptoms start to fade away. Viral pinkeye caused by herpes virus can be treated with some antiviral medicines, though this is rare. Homemade remedies are also an effective way to get rid of pinkeye.
Pinkeye caused by bacteria is a result of the entrance of the bacteria in eye or around the eye. Some of the common symptoms of bacterial pinkeye include:
- Redness in the white of the eye.
- Drainage of the grey and yellow colored fluid from the eyes, which can cause the eyelashes to stick together.
- A little pain in the eyes.
- Swelling in the upper eyelid.
Pinkeye also comes with other common infections, such as:
- Staph infection.
- Haemophilus Influenzae Haemophilus Influenzae type b(Hib).
- Cat-scratch disease.
Bacterial Pinkeye takes comparatively longer than viral pinkeye to go away, which is almost 7-10 days. However, if treated with antibiotics this duration can be minimized to 2 to 4 days. Bacterial Pinkeye also causes more drainage from the eyes, than viral pinkeye. A person with bacterial pinkeye after starting the antibioticscan resume to work within 24 hours, as antibiotics have a good impact on bacteria that causes pinkeye.
In order to prevent your pinkeye from spreading to the others, one has to be very careful with the cleaning of the eye. Make sure you are using clean wipes or tissues and clean your eyes from the inside near the nose and take the drainage out of your eyes. Be sure that the wipe is clean each time you apply it in the eye, as you wouldn’t want the drainage to go back to the eye. After cleaning your eye, put used wipes or tissues in the bin so that they are not being touched by anyone. If you used a washcloth, then have it washed in the laundry right away, so that there’s no chance for someone else to touch it and get infected by redeye. It is also very important to wash your hands once you’re done with cleaning your eye, as it is highly possible for pinkeye to spread if you touch others.
The drainage from the infected eye is highly contagious. Touching an affected eye can cause the drainage to stick to your fingers, and if you touch another eye or other objects with the drainage on your fingers, it can cause pinkeye to spread as the drainage includes the virus and bacteria in it which caused conjunctivitis. Some of the following tips can help you learn how to prevent the spread of pinkeye:
- Cleaning your hands with water or sanitizer before touching your eye to apply medicine.
- Cleaning or washing your hands after touching your eye or face.
- A person affected with pinkeye must avoid sharing their eye makeup.
- Eye makeup can irritate your already infected eyes, so avoid using eye make up until your eyes are fully recovered. In fact your pinkeye was a result of viral or bacterial infection, then it is advised to throw away your old makeup and by new one to apply on your infection free eyes.
- Avoid sharing your contact lenses, their storage cases and used solutions.
- Do not share medication you use in your eyes, such as eye drops.
- Refrain from sharing your towels, linens, handkerchiefs, washcloths and pillows with others. Also use clean towels, handkerchiefs and pillows every day.
- Wash your hands before you lend your help to a friend or a family member in applying an eye medicine. You may also wear clean medical gloves to have maximum protection.
- When you go out, wear an eye protecting accessories such as shades so that your eyes are safe from sunlight, heat, wind or cold as they can irate your eyes.
- Always wear safety glasses when working with chemicals.
Home remedies are considered to be the best way to treat pinkeye. They offer relief to the eyes from pain and reduce redness of the eye. Home treatment is also used to limit the drainage from the eyes. If you wear contact lenses then it is best advised to replace them with glasses until your pinkeye is gone. Besides, as a precautionary measure, keep your sects and storage case clean, with no dust particles in it.
To soothe your eyes from the infection caused due to pinkeye, treat your eye with warm or cool compresses. The allergy of the eye can be given the treatment of a cool compress as it will reduce the redness and swelling of the eye. On the other hand, an infection is curable with the help of warm, moist compression, but do take in note that warm compress can favor pinkeye to spread from one eye to the other. Therefore, to avoid the spread in both eyes, use different pieces of clothes for each eye and keep the compress clean for each application.
Since pinkeye is extremely contagious, it is highly recommended to treat both the eyes even if only one has symptoms. Honey is believed to be a great home remedy to treat infections in the eye. Honey is said to be a great remedy that can be used to get rid of pinkeye, its healing properties are very effective to cure pinkeye.Blepharitis is a recurring eyelid infection, which is similar to pinkeye and can be treated with honey. In fact, some patients with chronic pinkeye have found honey to be more effective than antibiotic creams.
A few studies and experiments have proved that honey can be used as a treatment for various ailments of the eyes. It was seen that the application of the honey killed most bacteria in the eye and the area around it, for people with dry eyes. In laboratory experiments, honey was discovered as way more effective than widely used modern therapeutic agents in healing wounds. Another advantage of using honey on wounds is that it doesn’t scar patient’s skin and clears wound infections with almost no side effects. Honey also has antimicrobial properties in it due to which it works against bacteria and fungi. Honey, if applied in the eye can treat complex eye diseases like post-herpetic corneal opacities, local conjunctival lesions and corneal edema.
History of honey shows its usage for the treatment of eyes, centuries ago. In ancient times, the Egyptians used to apply honey in the eyes to prevent any viral or seasonal ailments of the eye. Honey has also been part of Indian culture for many centuries now, Indians use honey to get rid of Pinkeye.
Out of all the types of honey, Manuka honey is best to treat eye illnesses. It carries antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of high levels of the compound dihydroxyacetone and thus considered the best kind of honey that can be used to deal many diseases related to human health.
Manuka honey can be used at home to treat pinkeye, by using the following recipe:
Things you need:
¼ teaspoon of raw Manuka honey
¼ cup filled with pure water
Small pinch of salt
Now to use it, dissolve raw honey and salt in the water, try to have slightly warm water, but not too hot, as hot water loses its essential minerals which are beneficial for healing purposes. If you do not have pure water, then boil water and let it cool before you mix salt and honey in it. You may also try to reverse osmosis or distillation to purify water. Pour the mixture in a clean dropper and use 1-2 drops in each eye every few hours. Keep the mixture in refrigerator for later use.
Honey is not the only thing that you can use at home to treat your conjunctivitis. There are many more things that you can find in your home to treat your pinkeye. Let’s see what else you can use at home:
Eye infections often cause swelling, especially spelling of the eyelid. To reduce the swelling of your eyes, you can use raw potatoes by cutting them into slices and placing them on your eyes several times a day.
Tea contains anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in it. Moreover, black and green teas carry bioflavonoids in them, which help in fighting against viruses and bacteria found in an infected eye. Black tea also has tannins in it which causes the inflammation to reduce more rapidly. Apply moist teabag on each eye for 3-4 minutes every day.
3. Boric Acid
Boric acid of Boron is known for its antibacterial properties and is used widely to treat acne, ear infections and Athlete’s foot. Also called hydrogen borate, Boric acid when diluted can also be used as an antiseptic for minor burns and cuts. Boric acid, mixed with water, can be used as a great eye wash.
Pinkeye can be avoided if you make a habit of following some precautionary measures like:
- Washing your hands before and after touching your eyes and face
- Washing your eyes with an eyewash or rose water before going to the bed
- Keeping your pillow case clean
- Washing your handkerchief, towels and linens regularly
- Avoiding to sleep without cleaning make-up around your eyes
You may also need to see your eye doctor in some special cases. It should be noted here that not all red, irritated eyes are affected by pink eye. Redness and swelling of the eyes can indicate a lot of other infections and allergies like iritis, chalazion (which includes the swelling of the eyelid) and belapharitis (also similar to Pinkeye and includes inflammation of the eyelid). These eye conditions are not very dangerous, however, a viral pinkeye is highly contagious and must be treated without any delay.
It is advised to contact your eye doctor in case of any complications. Your eye doctor would arrange a meeting for you to come into the clinic and get your eye examined. This is important to get help from your doctor when your pinkeye is prolonged. If it is not possible for you to reach your eye doctor, then go to the emergency department of a hospital near you and ask the staff to help you get rid of your pinkeye.
- One must seek medical help in following conditions
- If there is yellow or green discharge from the eye and it is causing your eyelids to stick together.
- In case of high fever, pain in the face and vision loss
- Sever pain in the eye
- If you have blurred or incorrect vision