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Causes and Treatment of Pink Eye

Colleen Dixon
 


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TOP REMEDIES FOR PINK EYE

What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is swelling and redness of the membranes (conjunctiva) on the inner parts of the eyelid and the eye surface. Pink eye is very common. It is usually not serious, and often goes away in a few days without medical treatment.

What Causes Pink Eye? Is It Contagious?

The leading cause of pink eye is a viral infection, which is highly contagious. Bacteria such as staphylococci, pneumococci, and streptococci cause bacterial pink eye, which is also very contagious. Non-contagious pink eye can result from allergies or exposure to chemical irritants. Rheumatic diseases, Kawasaki's disease, and certain inflammatory bowel diseases can cause pinkeye. Additionally, dry eyes from lack of tears or exposure to wind and sun can cause pink eye, as can foreign bodies such as dirt or bugs.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

- Viral conjunctivitis is often caused by an upper respiratory tract infection, and the cold-like symptoms that accompany such viral infections. Discharge is watery, rather than green or yellow.

- Bacterial conjunctivitis is often associated with eye pain, redness, tearing, irritation, and moderate to large amounts of discharge, usually yellowish or greenish in color.

- Allergic conjunctivitis symptoms usually include intense itching, tearing, and swelling of the eye membranes. Other typical allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy nose or scratchy throat may also be present.

Treatment Options for Common Pink Eye Infections

Viral Conjunctiva Treatment

Although most viral pink eye will not require antibiotic treatment, sufferers should still see their doctor. This type of pinkeye can be associated with infection of the cornea, which requires early detection and treatment. Symptoms of viral pinkeye can be relieved with cool compresses and artificial tears. In extreme cases, topical steroid drops may be prescribed to reduce discomfort.

Bacterial Conjunctiva Treatment

Antibiotic eye drops or ointments are generally prescribed for bacterial pinkeye. Moderate to large amounts of discharge accumulates during sleep, resulting in the sensation of the eyes being “stuck shut" upon awakening. Applying a damp, warm wash cloth to the eyes, being careful to use a different washcloth for each eye, will remove the discharge.

Allergic Conjunctiva Treatment

Over-the-counter decongestant eye drops can relieve seasonally occurring allergic pinkeye. Cold, moist wash cloths can also be applied to the eyes. Again, care should be taken to use a different cloth for each eye. In extreme cases, a prescription may be necessary.

Tips for Administering Eye Drops to Young Children

Rather than frightening a child by forcing the eye open while the bottle or dropper is plainly visible, try this: ask the child to lie back and close his or her eyes. Place the recommended number of drops in the inner corner of the eye, next to the bridge of the nose. The drops will form a little pool and when the child's eyes open, the drops will flow gently into the infected areas without a fuss.

Home Remedies for Pink Eye

Quick home remedy chamomile treatment

Moisten 2 teabags and place over eyes as a compress

Chamomile home remedy

2 tsp. of dried chamomile herbs or 2 herbal tea bags

Infuse in 1 cup freshly boiled water for 15 minutes

Cool and strain

Use an eyebath to bathe the eye

Sterilize eyebath before bathing second eye

Repeat with fresh infusion daily

Medical Cautions for Home Remedies

Please to not attempt any form of self-diagnosis or treatment for serious complaints without first seeking medical attention. Seek immediate help if any of the following occur during home treatment:

- Decreased, double, or blurred vision develops that doesn't clear with blinking
- Eye pain is present for more than 24 hours or eye pain increases
- Sensitivity to light develops
- Signs of an infection develop
- Symptoms become more severe or frequent

Recommendations to Help Prevent Further Infections

Dietary

Add brightly colored fruits and vegetables to diet

Plenty of citrus fruits, berries and spinach

Whole grains including brown rice

Oily fish such as tuna

Cook with plenty of fresh garlic or take daily garlic capsules

Sunflower seeds

Other

Change pillowcases frequently
Replace cosmetics regularly
Take proper care of contact lenses
Wash hands frequently
Keep hands away from face

Do's and Don'ts for People With Pink Eye

Do

See a doctor
Avoid wearing contact lenses until infection improves
Wash hands frequently
Throw away tissues after each use
Disinfect surfaces like countertops, sinks, and doorknobs

Don't

Attend school or go to work until symptoms improve
Use medication prescribed for someone else, or from an old infection. These may have been contaminated by accidentally touching the medicine bottle to the affected eye.
Touch the eye area
Share towels or handkerchiefs

Is there a permanent cure for pink eye?

Just as with the common cold, there is no cure for pink eye. The best plan is to prevent the further spread of pink eye once infected. Poor hand washing is the main cause of the spread of viral pink eye and this is easily corrected.

Colleen Dixon, Shenandoah Writing Services, http://www.shenandoahwriting.com

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