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.