Pink eye is the phenomenon in which our conjunctiva swells up and becomes red. Conjunctiva is situated near the outer eye surface and eyelid. It is a clear, mucous like membrane. Pink eye is also called conjunctivitis. Conjunctiva contains many thin blood vessels which cover the sclera of the eye.
If there is an infection or irritation in the eye, these blood vessels dilate making the clear mucous membrane of the eye turn all red and bloody.
Viruses and bacterial infection are the biggest causes of pink eye. This makes pink eye highly contagious. It spreads very easily by coming in contact with someone who is affected by this.
There isn’t a solid medical treatment for this condition but it is not that dangerous and goes away on its own in a week or 10 days. Pink eye is also the main cause of Redeye, which is the redness of areas on or around the eye.
Causes of Pink eye
There are a lot of ways one could get affected by Pink eye. Some of the causes of Pink eye are:
- Viruses like that of common cold. The same virus which causes sore throat and runny nose can cause Pink eye also.
- Bacteria can also cause Pink eye. Bacterial pink eye is very contagious but is not that serious if taken care of properly. It usually lasts a week.
- Allergies are the reason for irritation and inflammation in the eye. Irritants like animal dander, dust, and pollen cause the eye to swell to become red.
- Long exposure to wind or sun can cause the tear ducts to dry up making the eye dry. This can lead to pink eye also.
- Harmful chemicals, smoke or fog from the factories as well as household objects cause inflammation in the eye, hence pink eye.
- Rubbing the eye vigorously and for long times can cause irritation in the eye which can lead to pink eye.
Symptoms of Pink Eye
Depending on the cause of Pink eye, the symptoms may differ a little. If someone is showing symptoms like these listed below, then the person might be suffering from pink eye.
- The inner part or the white part of the eye becomes red.
- The amount of tears increases.
- Eyelids and areas around the eye become swollen and tender.
- One eye is red while the other is totally fine.
- After sleeping, there is a thick yellow discharge which creates a crust over the eyelashes.
- Eyes start to itch and burn.
- Blurred vision.
- The sensitivity to light is increased.
Harms of Pink Eye
Pink eye gets cured on its own in about ten days or less if you are using antibiotics also. Sometimes though, the eye stays red and swollen even after two weeks of rest and antibiotics. Although pink eye is not that harmful on its own, if left untreated or uncured even after a long period of time, it can have severe complications.
- In some cases, pink eye can become so severe that treating it becomes very difficult. Eyes don’t respond to antibiotics that efficiently and take a long time to heal. The duration of this type of conjunctivitis increases the chances of family members getting affected.
- In bacterial conjunctivitis, early treatment is very important. If left untreated, bacterial conjunctivitis can lead to several internal infections threatening the sight of a person.
- Getting infected by pink eye repeatedly is also a very grave condition. A doctor should be consulted before the condition becomes more dangerous.
- Conjunctivitis should not be taken lightly when someone is pregnant. The eye may not heal at all if left on its own or the antibiotics might react differently with the body. Proper treatment and care is required for pink eye during pregnancy.
How to get rid of pink eye – Home Remedies
- Basil is a natural anti-inflammatory and soothing plant known to have healing powers. It is very effective in protecting the eyes from free radicals and other environmental damages. Boil some basil and water for about 10 minutes and then use it to wash the eyes.
- Most of the pink eye cases are caused due to the lack of hygiene and clean face. A simple solution for preventing and getting rid of pink eye is using the cold compress method. Just soak a clean washcloth in sterilized water and keep applying near the affected area. Try to use a clean washcloth every time you compress.
- Green tea contains bioflavonoids which provide relief to the eye from irritation and inflammation due to conjunctivitis. Get rid of pink eye by placing a boiled green tea bag over the affected eye after it has considerably cooled down.
- At the onset of pink eye, applying some aloe Vera gel near the eye speeds up the healing process. Aloe Vera contains aloin and amodin which gives it antiviral and antibacterial properties. It has been found that aloe Vera extract is safe for the human cornea and can also be used in eye drops in the near future.
- A clean cotton pad soaked in boiled water mixed with turmeric can be used as a warm compress to get rid of pink eye. Turmeric reduces inflammation and its antibacterial property heals the pink eye symptoms when used efficiently.
- Neem is the source of numerous home remedies. Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can cure conjunctivitis also. Soak a cotton pad in some Neem oil and apply it around the eye region before going to sleep.
- Colloidal silver has a plethora of benefits. One of it being attracting the infected cells from the eye electromagnetically and then sending them into the blood circulation for removal. Colloidal silver gets rid of pink eye no matter the cause. It does not act against a single class of bacteria, like most antibiotics.
- Honey has been found to be beneficial for the eye since the time of Aristotle. It has strong antibacterial properties and can reduce the extent of bacteria significantly upon usage by people suffering from pink eye. One teaspoon of honey mixed in a cup of boiled water makes for a very good homemade eye drop.
- Breast milk contains a compound called Immunoglobin A. This is an antibody which is predominantly found in Breast milk. A breast milk eye drop prevents the mucosal surface of the eye from getting in contact with the infected pink eye bacteria. Due to this, the bacteria’s growth is shunted getting rid of pink eye.
- Pink eye doesn’t always require fancy eye drops. A solution of clean and sterilized water with common salt can also help in getting rid of pink eye. This saline solution can provide relief several times a day.
Chamomile provides relief against the itching and redness due to its soothing properties. After brewing a cup of chamomile tea, place the tea bag over the affected eye. The tea bag must be cold before placing over the eye.
- A mixture of milk and honey in equal proportions creates a homemade eyewash product. Honey is antibacterial in nature. Applying the eyewash with a cotton swab around the eye and eyelids provides instant relief. Using this remedy regularly cures the pink eye quickly.
- Baking soda has soothing properties. Not only can it whiten your teeth, it can heal pink eye also. In a cup of sterilized water add a teaspoon of baking soda and mix it well. Using a washcloth or cotton swab gently apply the water near the eye region. Use this remedy three four times a day.
- Apple cider vinegar has the ability to heal pink eye but putting it directly into the eye like an eye drop will sting a lot. A diluted mixture with clean and warm water can be applied to the eyelids using a cotton swab without hurting the eye.
- Lemon has a high content of citric acid and is also an anti-bacterial agent. It prevents the bacteria to spread all over the body and fights the infection also. A solution similar to the Apple cider vinegar, when applied near the eyelids, will get rid of the pink eye.
- Applying some natural coconut oil around the affected area before going to sleep prevents the crust build up to an extent. After waking up, coconut oil provides relief from the itch and infection.
A contact lens cleaner based on Boric Acid with some antibacterial properties heals pink eye much faster than any other prescription eye drops. This remedy is very inexpensive also.
- Baby shampoo, if used in the right amount, can get rid of pink eye very easily. Take a drop of shampoo between wet hands and rub it together until suds are formed. Apply these suds to the eye. Wash the eyes after some seconds. Baby shampoo is made in such a way that it won’t hurt the eyes even if it gets in.
- For people suffering from repeated cases of pink eye, eating a garlic a day can prove very beneficial. Garlic soothes the redness in the eye and also acts against the swelling.
When the infected eye starts to burn up a lot and the swelling increases, splash some cold milk in the eye. Milk has natural soothing properties and is very efficient in getting rid of pink eye.
Precautions for pink eye
Pink eye is a disease which is spread through pollen and dirt in the air or by coming in contact with an infected person. These situations are easy to avoid if a little effort and care is taken. Here are some steps which will help in getting rid of pink eye easily and preventing from spreading further.
- Try to identify the reason for your pink eye. If it is an allergy, then try to avoid the allergens and cover the eye.
- Keep hands and face clean. Use sanitizer every now and then and wash the face at some intervals.
- Keep different soaps and towels for infected and uninfected people in a family. Conjunctivitis spreads from one person to another by the sharing of their bacteria.
- The crust formed near the corner of the eye after waking up should be removed by using lukewarm water so that the symptoms lessen a bit.
- Get rid of the antibiotic eye drop after treatment of the eye.
- The eyes should never be rubbed. Rubbing the eye plants the bacteria on the hand spreading the disease from one eye to the other and from one person to another. Wash the hands after rubbing the eye.
- Try to avoid any eye makeup at the time of infection. Also, try not to use the makeup of an infected person.
- Never share eyeglasses, spectacles or contact lenses from an infected person.
- Resting at home is advised at times of pink eye. It is the safest way to get rid of pink eye effectively and also preventing it from spreading through the family, school or office.
- While sneezing or coughing, cover the mouth and nose as the bacteria can spread through the air also.
Myths & Facts
|Staring at someone with infected eyes cause Pink eye||Absolutely not. It is one of the most common misconceptions that you can get pink eye just by looking at someone with conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis spreads through virus, bacteria and coming in actual contact with the infected person.|
|Use of Sunglasses is a must while suffering from Pink eye||Sunglasses serve no purpose during pink eye other than covering the eyes from other people. It neither prevents pink eye and nor does it stop it from spreading because pink eye doesn’t spread by just watching it. Tinted sunglasses can provide some relief from the sun but only if it’s too hot.|
What is the reason for recurring Pink eye?
Sometimes a person can get infected with pink eye more than usual in their lifetime. It could be due to a virus called adenovirus which is the reason for most of the viral pink eye. Adenovirus is a respiratory virus capable of staying in the atmosphere for longer duration. Pink eye can happen again if the virus is still in the surrounding environment and the medication has been stopped prematurely.
What to do about the white discharge after waking up?
The white discharge or secretion released from the eye during the sleep not only looks ugly, it is a host of other problems also. It provides difficulty in opening the eyes and contains a lot of bacteria and virus from the infected eye. This discharge should be treated properly so that the disease can be stopped from spreading. Wash the hands after clearing the discharge or use a tissue paper for cleaning the eye.
How many types of Pink eye is there?
Pink eye can be separated into three categories depending upon the cause.
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis: This type of conjunctivitis, if left untreated, can harm the eyes and eyesight. Caused by Bacteria, this is the kind of conjunctivitis in which antibiotic eye drops work.
- Viral Conjunctivitis: Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus. This version of conjunctivitis is very contagious often taking a lot of people under its wrap. This pink eye is not that harmful and usually cures itself within a week or so. Antibiotic eye drops are not required in a viral pink eye.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis: Pink eye caused due to some allergies or other eye irritants come under allergic conjunctivitis. Things like dust, pollen and animal dander can cause pink eye in some individuals. This type of pink eye can affect a person all year round or just in some seasons.
Who is affected the most from Pink eye?
Pink eye usually occurs more in school going children, teenagers and young adults than in older adults. It is mostly due to the environment these children stay in: full of dirt and unhygienic. Sun also plays a hand in aggravating the symptoms among children and college going students.