What is Pink Eye?
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a clear membrane that covers the outer layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. As with other common eye inflammations, conjunctivitis usually looks and feels worse than it is. While the pronounced redness can be quite alarming, conjunctivitis very rarely causes long term visual damage. Pink eye is, however, a condition that often needs to be diagnosed and treated early as certain types of conjunctivitis are very contagious and any prolonged inflammation of the eyes should be treated with caution to prevent complications and tissue damage.
What are the Symptoms of Conjunctivitis?
Pinkeye is caused by infections from bacteria or viruses, allergies, or certain irritants that come into contact with the eye. Because of all the different causes, there are several different types of conjunctivitis and different symptoms. Infection usually begins with one eye but can quickly spread to the other eye in cases of viral or bacterial conjunctivitis. Symptoms of pink eye may include:
Discomfort in the eye
Redness of the eye or inner eyelids
Discharge and teariness
Discharge may cause eyelids to crust and stick together while sleeping
Tenderness of the eye, or pain
Sensitivity to light
Swelling of the eyelids
Because conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can easily be spread to your other eye, other people and to yourself again once the initial infection has cleared, there are a few precautions that should always be taken:
- Don’t share towels, pillows, or washcloths with others, especially if they have conjunctivitis or other viral and bacterial conditions such as cold sores.
- Change pillowcases and wash towels and bedding frequently.
- Use immune system boosters to boost your immune system to help prevent infection as well as to encourage faster healing.
- As much as you may want to, refrain from touching your eyes! If your eyes are itchy, rather use a clean compress for quick relief.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching your eyes.
- Seek medical attention if you develop conjunctivitis when you have a cold sore as herpes simplex related conjunctivitis is a serious condition.
- Discard any makeup used when you had conjunctivitis as it may be contaminated and this is an easy way to spread it again.
- If you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses until your eyes have completely healed.
- Wear sunglasses outdoors as sunlight irritates pink eye.
Home Remedies to Cure Pink Eye
Colloidal Silver — You can buy colloidal silver in a spray bottle. Spray into your eyes two to three times a day. You can also put one or two drops of colloidal silver in your eyes two or three times a day if you can’t find a spray bottle. Colloidal silver has been known to cure pink eye as quickly as six hours. Be sure to use a few days after healing to be safe.
Castor Oil — Put one to two drops in your eyes two times each day. Your eyes will get better within one day, but you should keep using it for a few more days to make sure it is completely gone. Your eyes will get blurry from the oil but it does not sting or hurt and in fact can be soothing. Castor oil is an antimicrobal and is excellent for healing.
Sea Salt — Put a teaspoon of sea salt in one cup warm water and stir until dissolved. You can use an eye dropper and put two to three drops of the saline solution you have created directly into your eye or you can use a cotton ball. Saturate the cotton ball and place it on your eye allowing the water to run into your eye. This is a tried and true remedy that has been used for many years and is still a staple in England.