What is Pink Eye?
If you have ever suffered from pink eye, you will know just how painful and irritating it can be. Pink eye which is also known medically as conjunctivitis is a fairly common but highly contagious condition. It is characterized by inflammation and redness both inside the eyelid and the thin layer of mucous membrane covering the eye itself. When a person becomes infected with conjunctivitis, the blood vessels in the eye to swell and causing the eye to appear bloodshot.
What Causes Pink Eye?
There are actually several different cause of conjunctivitis. It may be caused by a bacterial infection, a virus or an allergy but whatever the cause, the symptoms are very similar.
This form of conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be especially problematic and may result in serious damage if it is not treated.
This type of pink eye can result in a thick, yellow discharge leaking from the eyes. This discharge is sometimes so severe that the eyelids stick together especially when you have just woken up.
The condition can affect just the one eye or both at the same time. It is highly contagious and is easily spread by direct contact with the hands or other items that come into contact with the eyes.
Viral conjunctivitis is also highly contagious but unlike the bacterial form, it does not call for medical treatment and tends to clear up of its own accord.
The symptoms include itching, redness and watery eyes as well as a sensitivity to light. Like bacterial pink eye, this form of the condition may affect both eyes at the same time or just one eye. It is extremely contagious and can be spread through coughing, sneezing.
Pink eye can also be caused by various allergies including allergies to pollen, dust or pet dander. Unlike the other two forms of conjunctivitis, pink eye caused by allergies is not a contagious condition.
Treatments for Pink Eye
Before going any further, it is important to know which form of conjunctivitis you have. If you have any of the familiar symptoms, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible to determine its cause.
You should not try to treat bacterial pink eye at home. Bacterial conjunctivitis will usually require a course of antibiotics and left untreated can lead to serious, permanent damage including loss of vision and corneal ulcers.
Viral pink eye is considered less serious and will usually clear up on its own without the need for medication. Having said that, it is still a very annoying and uncomfortable condition that can be eased with several simple remedies.
Home Remedies for Pink Eye
1) Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is becoming an increasingly popular remedy for a variety of conditions ranging from wound care to sinusitis. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antibacterial and antiviral actions that make it suitable for treating infections like conjunctivitis.
When you apply colloidal silver to the affected eye or eyes, the microscopic silver particles or colloids attract the infected cells electromagnetically before sending them into the bloodstream where they are eliminated.
Colloidal silver is a useful remedy for various eye conditions as it can help fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Remember however, that it is important to seek proper medical care if you are suffering from a bacterial form of the condition.
To treat your pink eye with colloidal silver:
- Put two drops of colloidal in your affected eye.
- Repeat the procedure three times each day until the infection has cleared up.
2) Cold or Warm Compress
A compress is an easy, convenient and highly effective method of easing the inflammation and itchiness symptomatic of pink eye. It is up to you whether you use a cold or warm compress so try both to find out which works best for you. Many people find a cold compress offers greater relief from their symptoms but many experts suggest that a warm compress is more effective.
Making a compress for your eyes could not be easier:
- Soak a clean cloth in warm or cold water then wring out the excess liquid.
- Apply the cloth directly to your affected eye and hold it in place for at least five minutes.
- If both eyes are affected, use a separate, clean cloth to make a compress for your other eye and repeat the procedure.
- It is very important to use a clean compress each time you treat your eyes because the compress can cause the infection to spread.
3) Milk and Honey
This is a very effective, traditional remedy for pink eye that most people can use with ingredients they already have sitting around in their kitchen. Honey has excellent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it a great remedy for conjunctivitis. It can help soothe the itching and inflammation while also helping to clear up the infection.
- Warm up a quarter cup of milk in a pan or in the microwave.
- Add a tablespoon of good quality unpasteurized honey and stir it thoroughly. Manuka honey is an excellent choice because of its extraordinary medicinal properties.
- Make sure that the mixture has cooled down sufficiently to apply it to your eyes.
- Use an eye dropper to carefully drop two drops of the mixture into the affected eye.
- Repeat the process daily for as long as necessary.
4) Saline Solution
Salt water is another very simple and effective remedy to ease the symptoms of conjunctivitis. Saline drops are readily available at most pharmacies but you can also make your own salt water eye wash by simply adding a little salt to some distilled water.
- Boil up a cup of fresh, distilled water with half a teaspoon of salt in a pan.
- Once boiled, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.
- Once it has cooled down, use an eye dropper (make sure it is sterile) and drop a few drops into your affected eye.
- Repeat the process two or three times a day for as long as needed.
5) Breast Milk
Breast milk is a rich source of antibodies which not only support a newborn infant but can also help fight an eye infection like pink eye. One particular antibody found in breast milk called immunoglobulin prevents the bacteria which causes pink eye from attaching itself to the mucous membrane covering the eye. This helps inhibit bacterial growth and prevents the spread of the infection.
- Use an eye dropper to put two drops of milk into the affected eye.
- Repeat the process several times a day for as ling as necessary.
6) Herbal Teas
Making a type of warm compress with the addition of an herbal tea is another excellent natural remedy for pink eye. Some of the best herbal teas you can use include calendula, chamomile and fennel tea.
- Step your chosen tea bag in hot water for at least five minutes.
- Allow the tea to cool.
- Dip a clean cloth or handkerchief in the tea and wring out any excess liquid.
- Use the cloth as a compress to apply to your affected eye.
- Repeat the process several times a day but use a different cloth each time.
7) Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is full of the medicinal properties necessary to clear up the infection. It is very important that you use a very dilute ACV solution to treat your eyes to make sure that your eyes are not irritated further. It is best to use raw, organic apple cider vinegar. It costs more but has far more of the nutritional goodness and medicinal properties needed for pink eye and other health conditions.
- Add a single teaspoon of ACV to a cup if water and stir.
- Dip a cotton ball in the solution, close your eye and apply.
- Repeat the process two or three times each day for a few days and your symptoms should clear up pretty quickly.
- Make sure that you use a fresh cotton ball each time you repeat the treatment.