Pink eye (also called conjunctivitis), occurs when the material that covers the white part of the eye becomes irritated or inflamed. This results in itching, lots of tearing, and pain. The contagious forms of pink eye are usually caused by bacterial or viral infections. Non-contagious forms of pink eye can be caused by various irritants, like dust and smoke in the air, or allergens, or chemicals.
Symptoms of pink eye
- If you have viral pink eye, it's often only in one eye, which will water a lot and may have crusts forming on the eyelid, and have a light discharge.
- Bacterial pink eye often spreads to both eyes, and can cause a slight greenish discharge (eww!). You might also get crusts.
- Allergic forms of pink eye will be itchy, and your eyes will be very watery. This also affects both eyes. Your nose might be itchy and runny as well. There probably won't be any weird discharges or crusts in this case.
Viral and bacterial forms of pink eye are extremely contagious, so if you have that, stay away from other people as much as you can. If you just have it in one eye, do not touch the other eye, because it can spread to both that way.
How to get rid of pink eye
You should really call your doctor as soon as you can. Let them diagnose what kind of pink eye you have, and then take whatever medicine they give you for it.
There are some things you can do yourself to relieve the pain and other symptoms, though...
- You can make a mixture of turmeric in water - 2 cubic teaspoons of turmeric powder in a cup of hot water, soak that onto a cloth and put it over your eye.
- Wash your eye in a mixture of salt and warm water. Do this 4-5 times a day. This may burn a bit.
- The bacteria that cause bacterial pink eye are sensitive to heat, so just plain warm water on a cloth over your eye can help a bit.
- Vitamin A is very good to help against eye problems and infections. In some cases, a Vitamin A deficiency can even cause pink eye on it's own. This is rare though. But eat lots of carrots, or if you don't like carrots, take vitamin A supplements. Other foods with lots of vitamin A are whole milk, liver, spinach, cheese, corn and potatoes (but don't eat potatoes because... see below).
- You should avoid eating lots of starch and sugar, like white bread, cake, sweets, potatoes, etc.
- What you can use potatoes for though is to grate raw potatoes and put the slices over your eyelid. This helps with inflammation. Do this for at least 3 nights in a row for best results. You can leave the potato slices on your eyelids overnight (as long as they don't fall off).
- Vitamin C and E area also good for healing properties and helping your immune system. So eat lots of green veggies and lots of fruit. You can take a multivitamin for this purpose, but eating the right foods in the first place is always better.
- You can put a wet tea bag over your eye. This remedy has been around for a long time, because some teas can even get rid of pink eye symptoms completely - especially the irritation and swelling. Teas to use for this include chamomile, green tea, black tea, eyebright tea, calendula and fennel. Soak the tea bag in warm water and then put it on your eyelid for about 10-20 minutes. Black and green tea are especially good for getting rid of itching.
- Artificial tears can help flush out the eye and clean out the toxins and irritants. They can also soothe it a bit.
- One drop of castor oil in the eyes three times a day has been known to help.
- Taking zinc can help your body to absorb vitamin A, and also helps your immune system in general. It also has a bit of antiviral properties and can help with viral pink eye. It's best to get your zinc from foods (like meat, fish, lima beans, egg yolk, pecans and beans), but if you're going to take a supplement, lozenges are best because they help with absorption.
- Some people have suggested putting cold bread over your eyes can help with itching and inflammation.
- You can boil some fennel seeds and use that to wash out the affected eye(s). This can reduce the pain and inflammation.
- You can also soak a cloth with Aloe vera juice and use that. Aloe vera juice can also be used as eye drops.
- For bacterial conjunctivitis, you can use barberry root bark to make a kind of tea and soak a cloth in it and put it over your eye. Barberry contains berberine, which has antibacterial properties.
- Fill a sock or stocking with rice, then heat this in the microwave for about a minute. Hold the sock or stocking to your eye until it cools off. The heat should help and make your eyes water a bit, which should help to clean them out. After that, wash out your eyes.
- Keep your eyes as clean as you can. Don't let the crusty stuff fester, if you do, it will make the infection worse. To clean out your eyes, use a clean cloth or tissue that doesn't have any dyes or perfumes in it, wet it a bit and wipe your eyes. Wipe from the inside of the eye to the outside, and each time you wipe, use a clean section of cloth. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards, and either get rid of the cloth or wash it very thoroughly as well.
Don't spread pink eye to other people
Pink eye (viral or bacterial) is extremely contagious, so be very careful about what you touch. If you touch your eye, wash your hands immediately before you touch ANYTHING else, because if someone else touches what you touched, and then touches their eye - they can get pink eye too.
About The Author:
I'm a student in Canada. I like learning new things on my own, but don't like to be told how to learn. I also like writing. Interests: fitness, martial arts, writing, photography, games, psychology, alternative education... and more.
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