The transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eye is known as Conjunctiva. When this membrane gets infected and inflamed, the condition is called Conjunctivitis. This can occur in children and adults. Newborns with blocked tear ducts are also prone to this infection. It is commonly called 'Pinkeye'.
The blood vessels in the membrane become prominent and visible giving the red look. This makes the eye look red and causes itchiness. This is a highly contagious condition. It can spread by touching and sharing objects.
This infection can be viral, bacterial or due to external factors. Viral conjunctivitis is usually associated with an upper respiratory tract infection. It occurs with cold, flu or some other infection. There is watery discharge and begins with one eye being infected which spreads to the other with time.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is associated with sticky discharge or crushing near the eye. The other causes of conjunctivitis are external factors like the pollution, chemicals in shampoo, chlorine in swimming pools, dust, smoke, pollens, animal dander and other allergies. Viral and bacterial conditions are contagious but not the one caused by external factors.
The symptoms are redness, discomfort, itching sensation, discharge, tearing, sticky eye and burning sensation. An early diagnosis can prevent from spreading this infection. It usually clears up within few days.
There are antibiotic eye drops and ointments available for conjunctivitis. However there are some home remedies for the prevention of this condition. Some of the home remedies are:
1. Compress: This is a common remedy. Take a clean cloth and dip in water. Squeeze out the water and apply this cloth on the closed lids.
2. Marigold Leaves: Boil these leaves in water. Strain and cool. Use as an eyewash.
3. Tea bags: Places used teabags over the eye lids.
4. Potato: Slice a potato and place a slice over the eye lid of the affected eye.
5. Vitamins: Increase the intake of vitamins specifically vitamin A and B.
6. Juice: Intake of spinach and carrot juice is beneficial.
8. Fennel Seeds: Eat fennel seeds or boil the fennel seeds in water and after training, use that as eyewash.
9. Aloe Vera: Dip a cloth in Aloe Vera juice and place it over the lids.
10. Honey: Dissolve honey in warm water and use as eyebath.
11. Eye Exercises: Do some exercises for relaxing and strengthening the eyes. These include up down and side to side eye movements.
If you wear contact lenses, stop wearing them immediately. Do not touch the eyes. Wash your hands regularly. Clean your towels, napkins, hanky with hot water. Do not share your eye care or make up items. Stop the usage of make up like eye liner and mascara. Avoid cosmetics. Maintain proper hygiene. Use sterile cotton ball dipped in warm water to clean the eye. Wear sunglasses to prevent dirt entering the eye. Do not scratch or rub your eyes. Eat a well balanced diet and include lots of salads and leafy vegetables.