Pink eye or conjunctivitis is inflammation of the thin, clear covering of the white area of the eye and the eyelids or conjunctiva. The main types of conjunctivitis are viral conjunctivitis which is caused by a virus. It is very contagious, but it normally clears up in a few days without any medical attention. Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria and can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by eye irritants like pollen, dust and animal dander it may be seasonal due to some pollen in the air.
What are pink eye and how you can treat it?
Pink eye is an infection that can be affected to your eyes, creating redness and swelling to your eyes. The Pink Eye can be caused due to allergies to some products or by any other infection.
Simple steps to treat your pink eye
In case if you are using contact lenses, then remove them and wear glasses till the infection is cured. Giving cold and warm compressions are the best ways to reduce pain and watering of your eyes. If you are suffering from pink eye due to allergy, then the best remedy is to give cold compression to your affected eye. Likewise, warm or moist compressions are perfect for pink eye caused by an infection, resulting in decreased redness and swelling. Always make sure that you use separate clean compress for each eye to avoid spreading of the infection to the other eye. Always clean your eyes using separate wipes towards the outer side, wiping from the inside. Do not forget to rash the used wipes to avoid spreading of this infection and make sure that you wash your hands immediately after cleaning your eyes.
Symptoms to be checked during home treatments
The most noticeable sign of conjunctivitis are the pink to reddish colour of the eyes, irritation and itchiness. Another visible symptom is tearing as it is natural for eyes to produce more tears to get relief from any discomfort of the eyes. In cases of viral and bacterial conjunctivitis there is continuous discharge which may be yellow or green which may also leave the eyes sticky. Swelling of the eyelid is also seen and there could be a blurred vision. The infection can be only in one eye or it can start with infection in both the eyes. Some other symptoms are
- Continuous or increased eye pain and irritation.
- Blurred or decreased vision.
- Symptoms appearing more frequently
- Difficulty in seeing at bright light.
- Signs of infection.
It is very difficult to get rid of viral conjunctivitis but there are some remedies to relieve the symptoms. Doctors prescribe eye drops containing antihistamines, decongestants or both. Home remedies like application of warm or cool compress can also give relief from the symptoms.
Treatment of conjunctivitis
The treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the type of conjunctivitis.Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments but viral conjunctivitis does not respond to antibiotics. The infection goes away on its own in a weeks’ time. Artificial tears can be used to keep the eyes moist and clean. As discussed above the symptoms of conjunctivitis can be relieved by some eye drops or home remedies. Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with antihistamines and by avoiding the cause of allergy as far as possible.
Prevent spreading of pink eye
Avoid going to work or to school until the pink eye has reduced. If you are suffering from a viral pinkeye, then you can go to work or school in 3 to 5 days and home treatments can make you feel better. A person having pink eye caused by bacteria, then the person can leave to work or school after the infection has been treated using antibiotics for 24 hrs. Use the medicines as directed by the physician that can help in completely removing the infection from your eyes.
As it is known that viral conjunctivitis is most contagious, a person suffering from it must not share washcloths, towels or tissues and even contact lenses or spectacles with other people. The mouth and nose must be kept covered while coughing and sneezing. The bed linens, pillowcases, and towels should be washed daily in hot water and detergent. Touching or rubbing the eyes must be completely avoided. Hands should be washed several times during the day to avoid infection and spreading of the disease.
Countertops, tables, bathroom items handles and other items that are frequently shared should be cleaned several times in the day with an antiseptic cleaner. A person suffering from conjunctivitis must avoid wearing contact lenses and use spectacles. Women must avoid eye makeup. A child suffering from conjunctivitis must be kept home and not send to school to mix with other children. These precautions must be taken to help you prevent spreading of the pink eyes condition.
In case you are around someone who has conjunctivitis
If you follow these given steps you can reduce your chances of getting conjunctivitis just in case you are around someone who has it:
- Using soap and warm water wash your hands as often as possible. Use a hand sanitizer which is alcohol-based in case soap and warm water is not available.
- After you come in contact with the person who is infected or the belongings he or she uses, wash your hands. For example, after the application of eye drops or ointments to the eye of the infected person wash your hands or after you put their linens of bed in the washing machine wash your hands.
- Do not touch your eyes if your hands are not washed.
- The items used by the person who is infected like pillows, wash cloths, towels, eye drops, makeup brushes, eye or face makeup, contact lens containers, contact lenses, eyeglasses, do not share them.
Try to avoid being sick
Once your conjunctivitis goes away these are the steps you should follow to avoid re-infection:
- Throw away the eye or face makeup which you used when you were infected or replace it.
- Throw away solutions of contact lens you used while being infected.
- Throw away the contact lenses which are disposable and also case used by you when you were infected.
- Clean the wear lenses which are extended as per the directions.
- Clean the eyeglasses and cases used by you when you were infected.
Depending on the underlying cause you can get rid of the pink eye or conjunctivitis in many different ways. Pink eye most of the times is related to viral or bacterial infections of the eye so know about the cause and find its treatment you should visit your eye doctor.
Many doctors prescribe topical antibiotics to cure conjunctivitis due to bacteria. If it is viral then you will have to wait for some weeks as the disease is running its course. Viral pink eye cannot cure by any medicine but its symptoms can cured through antihistamines, decongestants or both contained in the eye drops.
Symptoms can be cured through home remedies also such as warm or cool compresses application depending on which one makes the outer, closed eyelids feel better.
The doctor recommends antihistamines containing eye drops in case you have eye allergies so that the eye does not react to allergens such as dust, pollen and pet dander. Eye drops like these can be found either over the counter or through formulas of prescription.
Washing the hands frequently and disinfectant usage on open surfaces like countertops can prevent pink eye, just in case any of your family members have it due to infection of the eye which is contagious.