Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is one of the most common eye conditions that can afflict both children and adults. The bad news is that pink eye sure is annoying and contagious. The good news is that it’s very treatable.
Pink eye is caused by the lining on our eyelids and the whites of our eyes becoming inflamed: this inflammation causes the eye to take on a pink color. Many people don’t realize that they have pink eye because the symptoms are similar to tired eyes in the beginning.
Causes of Pink Eye
Unfortunately, there are many ways one can get pink eye. Conjunctivitis can be caused by:
- Person-to-person viruses: This could be as simple as shaking hands with someone who has pink eye. If they happen to have rubbed their eyes before meeting you.
- Pollution: Air or water pollution can lead to conjunctivitis. It’s sad to think that normal hygiene, like washing your face in the morning could result in this painful and irritating problem.
- Chemicals: Household cleaners often contain chemicals that can become air born and irritate eyes. It is also possible that the cleaning solutions could transfer to your hands and come in contact with your eyes. Always be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after using cleaning products.
- Allergens: Almost anything you are allergic too could be included in this group; however, some common allergens include dust and pollen.
- Bacteria: Bacteria can be picked up almost anywhere. Public restrooms are a common breeding ground. The safest way to protect your eyes from this source of contagion is to wash your hands.
Any or all of these can lead to infection and/or irritation of our eyes.
The main symptoms of pink eye are as follows:
- Swelling and pink tissue around the eyelid and whites of our eyes
- Increased tear production due to the irritation
- Eye discharge that is green, yellow or white in color
- Itching around infected area
- Feeling of grittiness in your eyes
- Burning around infected area
- Crusted-over eyelids (from discharge)
- A new sensitivity to light
If you have any of these symptoms, you may have a case of conjunctivitis.
If you are the type of person who likes natural alternatives to traditional medicine and eye care (and you probably are if you are reading this blog), you may be interested to know that there are some ways of treating conjunctivitis naturally at home. Though the treatment for pink eye really will depend on its root cause, pink eye can often improve on its own with time being the only medicine needed.
Keep in mind that pink eye is a very contagious condition. You need to take special care not to spread the infection to other family members while you are treating it. This can be difficult to remember because we often touch or rub our eyes without even realizing it. The best way to prevent the spread of this condition is to wash your hands carefully after every time you touch your eyes. Family members can pick up the infection by handling things you have touched after touching your eyes, so it is important for their safety to wash your hands immediately after touching your eyes.
The following is a list of some ways you can treat pink eye naturally at home:
A cold compress may be just the thing for you if allergies are what caused your case of conjunctivitis.Frequent applications of a soothing and anti-inflammatory, cold press can help your pink eye clear up faster. Applying a cold compress helps to relieve the irritation associated with pink eye. Less irritation means that you are less likely to rub or press on your eyes to relieve the irritation.
A warm compress may be especially soothing if your eyes are burning but keep in mind that the warmth can actually cause the infection to hop on over to your other eye (use with care). This transfer is one of the dangers of pink eye. If you have only one eye affected you need to be especially careful not to spread the infection to the other eye as this will prolong the problem.
Frequent wiping of your eye from one side to the other may help your pink eye clear up faster as it can help remove the bacteria or allergen that is causing the irritation. Be sure to dispose of your tissue promptly, wash your hands, and to not reuse your tissue for another swipe or the other eye! We can’t stress enough the danger of transferring the infection from one eye to the other or to other members of your household.
This may sound nuts, but the bacteria in yogurt, raw milk and breast milk can help combat the bacteria in your eye. Some folks swear by a drop of yogurt or raw milk in the eye (and breast milk for infants suffering from conjunctivitis).
Though it is entirely feasible to treat your pink eye at home with the natural remedies outlined above, there are times when you may want to see a doctor. If your vision seems to worsen, your pain continues or increases with time, or your symptoms take a turn for the worse, be sure to consult with your medical professional for guidance and care!
Physicians will normally prescribe eye drops for the treatment of pink eye. This helps to flush the infection from the eye but can sting when applied. If you are concerned about trying a natural remedy for this problem talk to your medical practitioner about it.