It’s highly probable that you’ve suffered from pink eye at some point in your life.
This common eye infection is usually nothing serious, but it causes a lot of discomfort and it looks unattractive. Find out what pink eye really is, learn about the symptoms and natural remedies, which you can use from the comfort of your home.
The Definition of Pink Eye
Pink eye is known as conjunctivitis in the medical world. It’s a common infection, which makes your eyes red, swollen, and itchy. The condition is caused by either a virus or bacteria and it spreads from person to person very quickly.
If your pink eye is caused by viruses, it usually clears up on its own after two to four weeks without following any special treatment. In case of a bacterial infection it may either go away on its own or sometimes it needs topical antibiotics.
If your pink eye lasts for more than four weeks or it happens to you frequently, it has probably become chronic conjunctivitis, which requires a medical consultation.
The Symptoms of Pink Eye
The word conjunctivitis comes from a word conjunctiva which is the transparent membrane in your eye that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. When tiny blood vessels in the conjunctiva get inflamed, you may notice that the whites of your eye become pink or red. It’s the first symptom of pink eye.
In general, eye infection can be caused by a virus, bacteria, some irritant, or an allergy. Some infections are sexually transmitted too and they cause such diseases as chlamydia or gonorrhea. The symptoms of all the types of infections are very similar, but there are some differences.
If your pink eye is the consequence of bacteria that entered your eye or eye area, it will probably last two to four days if you use antibiotics or about ten days if you deal with it without any antibiotics.
In case of bacterial pink eye, the white part of your eye may be pink, you may also feel a burning sensation in your eyes, and suffer from excessive tearing. Your eye may be painful or your eyelashes may be stuck together because of the crust that develops during the night. Your upper eyelid may be swollen too.
Viral infections are characterized by very similar symptoms, but the fluid your eyes secrete is usually more watery. The most common viruses which cause pink eye include adenovirus, herpes simplex, varicella zoster, picornavirus, poxvirus, or even HIV.
If your pink eye is the consequence of a virus, it shouldn’t be treated with antibiotics. It will simply go away on its own, but it usually takes around three weeks. It’s also very contagious for about ten days, when your eyes remain red.
Allergic conjunctivitis is very common as well, it’s estimated that even 40 percent of all the eye infections are caused by allergies or eye irritation. The main difference between a viral or bacterial infection and an allergic infection is that the former may affect only one eye while the latter usually influences both eyes.
The most common allergens, which are responsible for eye infections include animal hair, pollen, and dust. Allergic conjunctivitis is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as a runny nose or sneezing.
If your pink eye is caused by an irritant such as dirt, dust, or some chemical, it’s not an infection then. It will simply go away on its own after a day or two when you flush the irritant away. It usually makes your eye itchy or watery, but once it’s removed from your eye, the symptoms go away.
Another type of eye infection is chlamydial conjunctivitis, which is a disease that transmits sexually. It’s a bacterial type of infection mainly caused by chlamydia trachomatis. It’s transmitted from your genital areas through your hands to your eyes.
What’s interesting is that genital infection often doesn’t give any symptoms, but they reveal when they get into your eye. The symptoms are usually the same as in case of viral and bacterial infections so your eye will be pink, there can be some mucous discharge and your eyelashes may be stuck with crust, the eyelids may be inflamed and swollen.
Another disease which is sexually transmitted too is known as gonorrhea. You can get this disease when bacteria from your genital area spread to your eyes, the disease is then known as gonococcal keratoconjunctivitis.
The condition may be really serious and if it’s ignored for too long it can even lead to vision loss. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea require a treatment with the use of topical antibiotics.
For sure you need to be alarmed if you have observed such symptoms as poor vision or the impression that there is something in your eye. Your eyes may also be sensitive to light, you may experience headaches with nausea. In case of such symptoms, consult your doctor.
Home Remedies for Pink Eye
If your pink eye is not a consequence of some more serious disease, it usually doesn’t need any special treatment. However, the symptoms might be quite annoying and they also don’t look attractive. Therefore, you may also try some home safe home remedies which will help you to get rid of the problem fast.
1. Green Tea Compress
For sure, you’ve heard that green tea is healthy for your organism and that it’s worth drinking it between the meals. However, you can also use this wonderful beverage externally to treat pink eye. Green tea is rich in bioflavonoids, which may successfully help you reduce inflammation and irritation of your eye caused by viruses or bacteria.
Just dip a bag of green tea in boiled water for two or three minutes and when it’s still warm, but not hot, place it on your affected eyelid. Another option is to make a glass of green tea and soak a clean cloth in it, which you then use a warm compress.
Turmeric has wonderful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be really helpful in eliminating pink eye. In order to use it you need to boil around two tablespoons of turmeric powder in one cup of water.
Dip a cotton pad or a cloth in the solution and use it as a warm compress. Remember, though, that it shouldn’t get into your eye as it may additionally irritate it.
3. Holy Basil
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, has wonderful healing qualities. This amazing herb can reduce inflammation quickly and soothe your irritated eye. It can also protect your eyes from free radicals and environmental damage. tulsi also has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, thus, it can bring a positive effect in every type of eye infection.
You need fresh or dried tulsi leaves, which you need to soak in boiled water for about ten minutes. You can dip a cotton pad or a cotton ball in the liquid and use it as a warm compress. Another option is to use the liquid as a natural eyewash.
4. Colloidal Silver
You should always have colloidal silver at home, especially if you often suffer from pink eye. This wonderful substance can sometimes be even more effective than antibiotics as when you apply it on your irritated eye, the infected cells are destroyed by small silver colloids. They simply catch them with electromagnetic properties and then send then to your blood stream, which later eliminates them.
All you need to do is to apply some colloidal silver on a cotton pad and wash your eyelids with it. Do it every day in the morning and in the evening and you should quickly get rid of your pink eye.
5. Aloe Vera Gel
For sure, you have heard about wonderful properties of aloe vera, especially when it comes to our skin. Apparently, it may also be used to eliminate pink eye when used externally. The most powerful compounds of aloe vera are known as amodin and aloin. The can successfully fight bacteria and viruses, but they also have a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
It’s important, though, not to let aloe vera gel enter your eyes. Just place it on your eyelid or around the eye. Luckily, it’s not difficult as aloe vera gel is quite thick. The best way to obtain the most beneficial aloe vera gel is by cutting a fresh leaf of this amazing plant.
6. Neem Oil
Neem oil is very gentle for your skin as it has wonderful soothing properties. What’s more, it also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, which makes it a great remedy to pink eye. It can actually help you relieve the symptoms no matter what causes the condition.
It’s also very simple to use neem oil as you simply rub it in the area around your eye and your eyelid. Do it with gentle, circular movements and it it’s just enough to do it once a day, before going to bed. You should see a positive difference after a few days.
Honey is a natural remedy to various condition. We use it when we have a cold, when our throat is irritated or when we want to moisturize our skin or hair. Apparently, some studies have proved that honey may also be a wonderful solution for your eye infection. What’s more, some people who dealt with chronic pink eye have reported that it was honey that finally helped them.
A great effect of honey on various eye diseases was already known in the ancient times. Moreover, a famous Greek philosopher Aristotle was among the first recorded people who used honey for treating eyes. This wonderful substance was also used in Mali and in ancient Egypt. Even in the medieval English people used it to deal with eye conditions.
Honey is probably so effective because it is a natural antibiotic, which also has great anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it’s extremely important to use top quality honey. The ones which you can get in the supermarket often contain some artificial additives. Thus, it’s recommended to use honey from a proven and ecological source as only then it has its wonderful properties.
The type of honey is not so important, but for sure manuka honey will be a good choice because it’s rich in dihydroxyacetone, which can be useful in eliminating pink eye.
In order to prepare a remedial mixture boil ¼ cup of water for around five minutes and then leave it to cool down. Add there ¼ teaspoon of raw honey and wait until it dissolves. The water may be warm, but not hot as it can kill the wonderful qualities of honey. Optionally, you can also add there a pinch of sea salt.
Put the mixture into a clean eye dropper and apply one or two drops in each eye. You can use it even a few times a day if needed. After a few days you should notice a considerable improvement.
8. Salt Water
So called saline, which is simply sterile salt water may bring you immediate relief when you deal with an irritated eye. For sure you can get some eye drops in your pharmacy which contain saline, but actually you can also easily make your own solution.
You just need two ingredients – salt and water. You can use the salt from a grocery store or a supermarket, but it’s important to get the one which is uniodized as it doesn’t contain iodine. Rock salt and sea salt aren’t good options too as they often contain some chemical additives, which may be harmful for your eyes. It’s also recommended to use distilled water as it’s free of any potential impurities. However, boiled water can be used as well.
Prepare 9 grams of salt per one liter of water or one teaspoon of salt per one cup of water. Simply dissolve the salt in the water. Keep it sterile by storing it in a sterile container with a lid so that no microorganisms will enter the mixture. You should use it within a few days so it’s good to write the date on the container.
Use it as an eye wash by dipping a cotton pad in it and cleaning your eyes. You should feel immediate relief and after a few days your pink eye should be eliminated. You can also use this simple solution to treating small cuts, wounds, or new piercings. Unfortunately, this mixture is not suitable for taking care of your contact lenses.
One of the easiest and cheapest remedies for pink eye you will find in your kitchen. You may not have heard that but common potatoes actually have powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
To get the most from the potatoes, however, you need to use them raw. Simple take a fresh potato and slice it. It’s good if the slices are cold. Simply apply a slice on a closed eyelid and stay like that for about ten minutes.
You can also place it on your healthy eye as it can be helpful if your eye is tired. You should feel immediate relief from eye irritation. Repeat it in the morning and in the evening.
10. Breast Milk
Breast milk is a truly powerful substance produced by a human body. Various studies regularly show new and surprising qualities of breast milk. Apparently, it may also be helpful in getting rid of pink eye due to the content of antibody known as immunoglobulin A, which may protect the surface of your eye from bacteria.
The fact that infants who are breast fed very rarely get eye infections, confirms the fact that is has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Therefore, if you have access to breast milk, simply apply a few drops of it on your eyelid and around your eye area. After a few days, your pink eye should significantly reduce.
A very easy, yet effective method of reducing various eye infections and irritations, especially if they are accompanied by swelling. Simply apply a warm or cold compress on the irritated eye.
In case of a cold compress you can use a few ice cubes or frozen vegetables wrapped in a clean cloth. Apply it on your closed eyelid and keep it for a few minutes. Remember not to hold it for too long as it may cause further irritation of the eye.
In case of a warm compress, you can simply soak a clean cloth in hot water and apply it on your eye. Make sure, though, that it’s not too hot. Leave it on your eye until it cools down. Repeat it a few times. You can use the compresses a few times a day. It’s also a good idea to alternate a warm compress with a cold one.
12. Herbal Tea
Herbal teas may help you get rid of pink eye naturally and quickly. The ones which are the most useful when it comes to eye conditions include chamomile, calendula, fennel, and eyebright.
The best way to use herbal teas is by simply making tea and using a warm tea bag as a warm compress on your eye or you can rinse your eyes with the tea. Actually, you can use them also in case of tired eyes. Herbal teas can quickly eliminate inflammation, irritation, and swelling.
Additionally, you may also take eyebright orally either in form of tea or a capsule. In case of chamomile and calendula, make sure that you are not allergic to them. Also, don’t use them if you are pregnant or breast feed. If you drink herbal teas, it’s good to add there a pinch of salt as then it can also have astringent qualities.
How to Prevent Pink Eye
The most common type of pink eye is a virus and bacterial one. They are very easily transmitted from a person to person. It’s just enough to touch your infected eye with your hand and later leave the bacteria or virus on different objects. Therefore, the most of preventive measures you can take is connected with proper hygiene.
The most important rule is to wash your hands thoroughly every time you touched your eyes or face or after you used some medicines in the eye area. It’s also important not to share your makeup tools and cosmetics.
If you noticed the first symptoms of pink eye, avoid makeup until you get rid of the problem. Otherwise, you can infect your makeup products and once you cure the condition, you can reinfect yourself. If you know that any of your makeup products or tools may have been infected, simply throw them away.
The same rule applies to contact lenses. You shouldn’t wear them as long as your eyes are infected, but just switch to glasses for a while. Also, before you wear them again, clean them thoroughly.
Never share some eye-related products with other people, such as towels, pillows, linens, handkerchiefs, or eye medicines. Every time you look into someone else’s eye or help them use some eye medicine, wear protective gloves and wash your hands afterwards.
Remember to protect your eyes with glasses when it’s very hot, cold, or there is a strong wind as otherwise your eyes may get irritated. Also, safety glasses are a real must if your work with some chemical substances.
When to Seek Medical Help
In most cases pink eye is nothing serious and you can quickly get rid of it with home remedies, without any special treatment. However, sometimes it may develop into something more serious, which requires a medical consultation.
If instead of typical symptoms of pink eye you also observed additional, worrying symptoms, such as pain in your eyes, bright redness of the eyes, or when you vision is blurred and your eyes are sensitive to light, go to your doctor at once.
You should also be alarmed if together with pink eye you noticed that your immune system is weakened as it may be a sign that there is deficiency of some vitamins or minerals in your organism.