Pink eye, medically known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a membrane that covers the outermost layer of the eyes. The membrane reacts to a range of bacteria, irritants, allergy and toxic agents, causing the eyes to become watery, itchy and red.
Symptoms of pink eye:
The symptoms of pink eye include:
- Redness in the white portion or inner eye lids
- Sensitivity to light
- Body ache
- Discomfort in the eye
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Yellow or white discharge from the eye
- Watery eyes
- Blurred vision
Causes of pink eye:
Pink eye can occur due to virus, bacteria, allergies and irritants.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Staphylococcus, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus bacteria are common culprits behind bacterial conjunctivitis. They discharge a sticky, yellow colored liquid from the corner of the eyes. Bacterial conjunctivitis should be reported to the doctor as it can cause severe damage if left untreated.
- Allergic conjunctivitis is often accompanied with stuffy and runny nose. It is not contagious and can be treated at home. This type of pink eye occurs mainly during spring and seasonal changes. However, people with severe allergies will need professional medical treatment to get rid of this this condition completely.
- Viral pink eye is caused due to virus, which is usually contracted through the air. Diseases like herpes, measles and acute respiratory infections are the causes of viral pink eye. This type of pink eye is contagious and clears up within a few days without any medical treatment.
- Irritant gases, chemicals, flame burns and environmental toxins can cause irritant conjunctivitis. This type of pink eye is not very severe and will cure on its own after a few days.
Pink eye should be treated as early as possible as it is contagious and can lead to tissue damage if not treated on time. It usually occurs in one eye, but can spread to the other eye in case of bacterial and viral conjunctivitis. While in some cases, conjunctivitis disappears without any treatment, some are more severe and require specific treatment and diagnosis. Pink eye can easily be healed with home care methods. These home remedies should be followed for one to three weeks to get positive results.
1. Cold or warm compress:
Soak a soft cloth or cotton in cold or warm water and squeeze out the excess. Apply it on the closed eyes using gentle pressure. Cold compress is ideal for allergic conjunctivitis while warm compress works best for reducing the swelling of bacterial pink eye. A cold compress will also ease the itchiness that accompanies pink eye. For hot compress, add a few drops of rose or chamomile oil on the cloth and place it on the eyes until it cools. Remember, warm compress increases the risk of spreading the infection from one eye to another. Hence, use a clean cloth or cotton for application and discard after each use.
2. Milk and honey:
Milk and honey eyewash can help soothe the discomfort caused due to pink eye. Honey has amazing antibacterial properties, which, along with the soothing properties of milk will clear the pink eye in just 24 hours. Mix equal parts of honey and milk and keep stirring until it acquires a smooth consistency. Take an eyedropper and drop 2 to 3 drops in the infected eye several times day. You can also use this mixture as a compress. Alternatively, you can also use honey directly on the eyes.
Potato has natural astringent properties that can reduce eye inflammation. Grate potato and place it on the affected eye. Leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also place sliced potatoes on the eyes.
4. Tea bags:
The tannins and bioflavonoids present in tea can soothe the itchiness and reduce eye inflammation. Black and green tea bags are perfect for treating pink eye. Cool the used tea bags in the refrigerator and place on the eyes for a few minutes. Repeat this at least 3 to 4 times a day to ease infection.
5. Barberry plant:
Barberry or mountain grape is renowned for treating infections, digestive disorders and urinary tract infection. The stem, bark and rhizome of this plant can also be used to prepare an excellent eye wash. Boil some root and stem bark of barberry plant in water for 15 minutes. Let it cool before rinsing the eyes with it. Follow this method twice a day for relief from pink eye.
6. Boric acid:
Boric acid, also called hydrogen borate can help treat ear and eye infection. For pink eye, mix boric acid with water and use it as an eye wash. A regular usage will diminish the pink eye in a matter of a few days.
The antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties of the goldenseal can effectively kill the pink eye causing bacteria. Take 2 teaspoons of goldenseal and mix it one-cup warm water. Let it steep for 15 minutes and then strain it. Use the liquid as an eye drop twice a day for best results.
Take a handful of coriander and boil them in water. Strain the liquid and leave it aside to cool. Wash the infected eye with a solution or use it as a compress. This method is effective for decreasing the pain and swelling.
9. Fennel seeds:
Boil some fennel seeds in water and leave is aside to cool. Strain the liquid and wash the infected eye with it twice a day.
Boil a handful of calendula petals in 1 cup of water and leave it to cool. Use this mixture as eyewash or as a hot compress. Soak the washcloth or cotton ball in the solution and apply when warm.
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of chamomile can be very effective in treating the pink eye. Steep 1 teaspoon of chamomile in one cup water and boil for 10 minutes. Then soak a cotton ball in it and compress on the affected eye for 10 minutes.
You can try over the counter allergy medicines to treat the symptoms of pink eye. Our body reacts to the allergens by producing histamines, the culprits behind the pink eye and other allergy symptoms. Anti-histamine will block these histamines completely, thereby thwarting the symptoms from spreading.
13. Artificial tears:
Artificial tears can help relieve the symptoms of the pink eye. These eye drops are mild saline lubricants designed to wash off the contaminants from the eyes. These contaminants can prolong and complicate the viral, allergic or bacterial conjunctivitis. Most of the over the counter eye drops contain anti-histamine that could help treat pink eye.
Avoid wearing contacts:
Do not wear contacts while suffering from pink eye. It can further the complication and may trap the bacteria in the eyes. Disposable contacts should be discarded if they were used while you were suffering from this disease. Non-disposable contact should be cleansed thoroughly before you use them.
Make sure you clean the infected eye well. Wipe out the discharge to prevent the bacteria from festering. Wash your hand before and after cleaning the eyes and use a clean cotton for cleaning. Immediately discard the cotton after use.
Call the doctor:
Contact the doctor immediately if you suffer from moderate to intense pain in the eye. Vision problems that do not clear even after the discharge is wiped out should be reported to the doctor. Call the doctor if the bacterial conjunctivitis does not improve even after 24 hours of taking antibiotics.
- Wash your hands every time you touch your eye, even after applying the medication.
- Make sure you use a clean washcloth every day. Wash and change the pillowcase until the infection goes.
- Do not share eye products like cosmetics, eye drops, towels, linens, handkerchief, contact lens and the solution with anyone.
- Avoid using eye makeup until the pink eye subsides completely.
- Stay away from the computer for a few days.
- Do not put a patch on the eye as it can worsen the infection.
- Also, do not use the eye drops for more than 4 days, unless instructed otherwise by the doctor.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
- While swimming, make sure you wear swimming goggles to protect the eyes from bacteria and other microorganism in the water.
Hence, these home remedies, along with a healthy a healthy diet and a few immune boosting techniques can brighten your eyes in no time.