Conjunctivitis is commonly known as pink eye. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the thin transparent membrane that covers the eye. The cause is usually a bacterial or viral infection, an allergic reaction. Eyes become red, itchy, and watery. May also have discharge that sticks your eyelids together. Infectious conjunctivitis tends to start in one eye and spread to the other. Allergic conjunctivitis may be seasonal, as with hay fever, or may be due to triggers such as dust mites and pet hair. It can also occur as a reaction to eye makeup or chemicals in eye drops.
- Sore, irritated eyes that feel gritty or sandy.
- Redness in one or both eyes.
- Itchiness in one or both eyes.
- Watery eyes.
- Discharge from eyes that is sticky and forms a crust during the night that causes difficulty in opening eyes in the morning.
Home Remedies for Conjunctivitis
- Warm compress: To help alleviate conjunctivitis at its onset, hold a moist, warm compress to the eye for 10-15 minutes three times a day.
- Indian gooseberry: Take a cup of Indian gooseberry juice mixed with two teaspoons of honey twice daily. It helps boost your immune system.
- Coriander seeds: Make eyewash by steeping 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds in 1 cup of boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Strain, and cool it before using. This is an excellent eye-wash in conjunctivitis. It reduces eye discharge, swelling, and pain due to its antimicrobial properties.
- Turmeric: Add some turmeric into a little bit of pure water. Immerse a clean handkerchief into the solution, and let it dry. Then use it to mop the affected eyes. The natural antiseptic, antibiotic properties of turmeric will help to take care of bacteria/virus and facilitate healing.
- Goldenseal: Make eyewash by steeping 1 teaspoon of goldenseal in 1 cup of boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and rinse the affected eye with the lukewarm solution three times a day.
- Calendula: Steep 2 tablespoon of dried calendula in 1 cup of boiling water for at least 15 minutes and strain. Immerse a clean handkerchief into the solution and wring it out slightly. Apply the warm calendula compress to the affected area. Calendula has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It relieves the itching and discomfort of conjunctivitis. Discontinue if it causes more irritation.
- Breast Milk: The best way to heal conjunctivitis in young children is to place a drop of mother’s milk in the eye. Human breast milk has proven to be the most effective liquid to treat babies and children with the eye infection.
- Potato: Wrap grated fresh potato in cheesecloth and use as a poultice. Potato has a astringent properties which acts as local anti-inflammatory.
Do’s for Conjunctivitis
- For cleaning sticky or crusty eyes in the morning, use clean cotton ball dipped in warm water and, with the eye closed, gently wipe along your eyelids, from the nose outward or the other way around in the same direction to remove any crusts.
- During the day, bathe your eyes with cool water to soothe them.
- For allergic conjunctivitis, soak a clean cloth or cotton pad in cold water, wring it out, and place it over the eyes for a few minutes. Repeat as necessary, using clean pad each time.
- Wash your hands often as viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are both very contagious.
- Keep your wash cloth, towel and makeup separate to avoid spreading the infection.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables especially green leafy vegetables for their higher nutrient content required for healthy immune system.
- Eat whole grains, legumes, and quality protein such as fish, lean chicken and beans everyday.
- Take vitamin A along with vitamin C to expedite the healing process and strengthen immune system to fight toxins.
Don’ts for Conjunctivitis
- Avoid an excessive intake of starchy, sugary and processed foods that weaken your immune system.
- Avoid exposure to any known offending allergens.
- Try not to rub or scratch your eyes which make things worse.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses to avoid further irritation and any future infection.
- Don’t share towels, and change your towel and pillowcase every day.
- Avoid swimming in a swimming pool.
- Red eye associated with pain, blurred or reduced vision, or sensitivity to light.
- Stringy greenish or yellow discharge, swollen eyelids, scaly skin and vision changes.
- Conjunctivitis is not responding to treatment after a day or two.