Inky Pinky Stinky Eye! Yup, that’s what a pink eye is; well, not really a stinky eye but yes similar to that. We have all had the misfortune of going through a pink eye or conjunctivitis as it is commonly called. Remember how our mother’s used to ask us to wear a pair of black shades and we use to flaunt it in style or how we had the luxury of not going to school while having a bout of pink eye?
Though all that was great, you just couldn’t wait to get rid of it! Those itchy, irritating and red eyes, continuous watering of eyes, the discharge and crusting near the eyes – yuck!!! As kids we often ended up blindly following our parent’s instructions. But now that we are older and wiser, it’s time to take things in our hands.
This post is going to be your ultimate guide on conjunctivitis and trust us, after reading this you will never be at loose ends regarding this topic. Let’s start by finding out the causes of pink eye.
Conjunctivitis Can be Caused Due to 3 Main Reasons:
1. Viral Infection:
There are certain viruses such as adenovirus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), picornavirus (enterovirus 70, Coxsackie A24), poxvirus (molluscum contagiosum, vaccinia), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which can cause a viral infection and result in pink eye. Airborne viruses through cough and sneeze, virus through measles or flu can all cause a viral pink eye. You can categorize it as a viral infection of you have symptoms like redness, discharge, itchy eyes, excess tearing, etc. Since it is contagious, it can be easily spread to other people. So make sure you do not use clothes, napkins, towels and pillow cases used by a pink eye patient. Any kind of physical contact with the patient can also get you infected with it.
2. Bacterial Infection:
Bacterial conjunctivitis are caused due to different types of bacteria like staphylococcus aureus, haemophilus influenzae, streptococcus pneumoniae and pseudomonas aeruginosa. But these are not the only way to get infected with a bacterial pink eye. Bacteria can also spread through various other sources like coming in contact with contaminated surfaces or a pink eye patient, and ear or sinus infections. Since this is also a contagious form, you need to follow the same precautionary methods that you would follow for a viral infection.
3. Allergic Infection:
This non-contagious pink eye is caused when a foreign object tries to invade your eyes. Now this foreign object can be anything – animal dander, household detergents, perfumes, dust, mold spores or pollens. Your body tries to deal with the invasion by releasing a chemical called histamine. Other causes include allergic reaction to different kinds of medications, eye drops or contact lens solution.
The time taken to heal a pink eye depends upon the kind of infection you have.
- If it’s an allergic reaction, then once you remove the source of allergy, you will find immediate relief. The allergen source can either be household items like bleach, perfume, cosmetics, furniture polish, etc., or it can be natural sources like animal dander or seasonal pollens.
- If it is a viral infection then you don’t really have an option but to wait until the virus has run it’s course. This can usually take about 4-7 days of time.
- If the cause is a bacterial infection, then the duration depends upon how well your antibiotics are or how effective the natural remedies are for you.
Top 9 Effective Home Remedies To Treat Pink Eye:
1. Honey for Pink Eye:
To make an eye drop using honey, you would need:
- 1/4 cup of distilled water
- 1/4 teaspoon of honey
- A pinch of salt (optional)
Add the honey and salt in the warm water and mix it till the honey gets completely dissolved. Pour this concoction in a clean dropper and use 1-2 drops at a time. You can use this remedy every few hours.
2. Cold/Warm Compress for Pink Eye:
To treat an allergic conjunctivitis, you can use a cold or warm compress which will give you immense relief. The compress is your best option to bring down the swelling and redness. Though allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious it is always better to use different compressors for each eye. Another important tip is to make sure that your compressor is absolutely clean.
3. Tea Bags for Pink Eye:
The tannins in your tea bag can come to your rescue and do away with all the itchiness and puffiness. Put a tea bag in cup of hot water and let it steep for sometime. Now using the tea bag as a compressor, place it on your eye for 15-20 minutes. Do this couple of times during the day.
4. Boric Acid for Pink Eye:
Boric acid which is also called as hydrogen borate contains anti bacterial compound which can help you with the inflammation in your eyes. Just mix some boric acid with water and wash your eyes with it throughout the day.
5. Potatoes for Pink Eye:
This easily available everyday kitchen item is one of the easiest ways to reduce the swelling caused by the pink eye. Just take a raw potato and cut slices of it. Now close your eyes and place the slices on your eyes for sometime. Potatoes are an effective remedy because of the astringent property it contains.
6. Goldenseal for Pink Eye:
Goldenseal is a perennial plant which is enriched with astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. It also consists of berberine which helps in killing the bacteria that causes conjunctivitis and keeps the infection at bay.
To make the eye drops, take comfrey, chamomile, 1/8 teaspoon of goldenseal and one cup of boiled water. Mix all the ingredients together and let it steep for 15-20 minutes. Strain the solution, put it into a clean dropper and use the eye drops throughout the day as required.
7. Aloe Vera Gel for Pink Eye:
Aloe vera gel is filled with antiviral and antibacterial properties which are not only great at getting rid of the inflammation but it also gives a soothing relief caused due to the pink eye. It also helps in quickening the process of pink eye healing. Take some fresh aloe vera gel and place it around and on the affected eyelid for sometime. You can also use eye drops which contain aloe vera extracts.
8. Turmeric for Pink Eye:
Another easily available kitchen ingredient which can come in handy while treating a pink eye is turmeric. It has healing compounds which can reduce the inflammation and itchiness. Boil a cup of water and add 2 tablespoons of turmeric in it. Mix it well. Now take a cotton pad, dip it in the solution, squeeze out the excess water and use it as a compressor on the eyes.
9. Neem Oil for Pink Eye:
For instant relief from the irritation and itchiness, use neem oil. It’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will help you in dealing with the symptoms of a pink eye. Take some neem oil and gently rub it around your affected eyes and eyelid before you go to sleep.
These 9 remedies are tried and tested and hence you can trust in their effectiveness. Because of its contagious nature, you need to take precautionary steps like covering your eyes, throwing away used compressors, etc., so that the people around you don’t have the risk of catching it too!