December 6 2017
Does one or both of your eyes lately feel itchy, or watery, or maybe even looks a little pink and inflamed? If this is happening to you, you may be experiencing conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye (it’s not as cute as it sounds, trust me). Pink eye is when the outermost part of your sclera (the part of your eye that is white) is inflamed thus resulting in a pinkish/reddish colouration, mucus, pain and swelling. It can occur for a number of reasons, such as contact with unwanted bacteria, irritants such as smoke, debris, shampoo or pool chlorine or it could also be allergies (pollen, animal fur and dander, dust) which can especially affect contact lens wearers. If that isn’t bad enough, pink eye is also incredibly contagious. There are three main types of conjunctivitis:
- Viral conjunctivitis. Caused by a virus, like the common cold. This type of pink eye is very contagious, but usually will clear up on its own within several days without medical treatment but it is still recommended to try to treat it at home and to keep your hands sanitized.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis. Caused by bacteria, this type of conjunctivitis can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated and should be taken care of as soon as possible.
- Allergic conjunctivitis. A much more common type of pink eye. Caused by eye irritants such as pollen, dust and animal dander among susceptible individuals. Allergic conjunctivitis may be seasonal (pollen) or flare up year-round (dust; pet dander).
- One thing that is common with all types of pink eye is that it involves ocular discharge, it is contagious and it is very unpleasant to deal with. There are a few natural remedies for pink eye that you could actually do right at home, all of them typically involve a compress on the eyes. Green tea, for example, is a useful remedy for conjunctivitis. Dip a green tea bag (matcha green tea is ideal) in boiled water and place it on the infected eye once it’s cool enough to touch. You could also make a cup of green tea and soak a clean washcloth in it to create a warm compress. The bioflavonoids present in green tea relieve irritation and inflammation caused by pink eye while fighting bacterial and viral infections. Turmeric has healing compounds, and it reduces inflammation. It also has antibacterial properties and can relieve pink eye symptoms when used topically. Add two tablespoons of turmeric powder to one cup of boiled water. Soak a clean washcloth in the mixture and use it as a warm compress. Even putting a small amount of aloe vera gel around the eyes can be helpful due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also very important to keep your hands incredibly clean anytime you go near your eyes, especially while they are healing from conjunctivitis. Never share personal items such as washcloths, hand towels or tissues. It is also a good idea to have a diet rich in vitamin C to prevent the over production of histamine in the body if your conjunctivitis is allergy related.