Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the whitepart of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. Blood vessels in your conjunctiva, a thin membrane that lines part of your eye, become inflamed.This gives your eye the red or pink color that’s commonly associated with conjunctivitis.
Children get it a lot. It can be highly contagious (it spreads rapidly in schools and day cares), but it is rarely serious. It is unlikely to damage your vision, especially if you find it and treat it quickly.
There are different ways of classifying conjunctivitis.
• Irritant or allergic conjunctivitis-
An allergen or irritant, such as pollen or chlorine, comes into contact with the eye, triggering irritation and inflammation.
Infective conjunctivitis –
Bacteria or virus cause an infection.
Acute or chronic –
In acute conjunctivitis, symptoms usually last t-2weeks, but they can last 3-4 weeks. Chronic conjunctivitis lasts over 4 weeks.
Since bacterial or viral conjunctivitis is very contagious, it is important to aware about the symptoms. The condition can be passed along to others up to 2 weeks after symptoms appear.
The symptoms of Conjunctivitis includes –
• pink or red toned eyes
• gritty feeling in your eyes
• itchiness in your eyes
• watery or thick discharge that builds on your eyes at night
• abnormal amount of tears
• Swelling due to inflammation or rubbing
• discomfort when using contact lenses
Conjunctivitis can result from an allergy or a viral or bacterial infection.
Almost 80% of cases result from viruses, such as-
• herpes viruses
• entero viruses
Bacteria that may cause conjunctivitis include-
• Staphylococcus aureus
• Streptococcus pneumoniae
• Haemophilus influenza
Pink eyes in newborns can be due to infection, irritation or a blocked tear duct.
Some other causes for pink eyes includes-
• acute glaucoma
• a chemical splash in the eye
• a foreign object in the eye
Risk Factors –
• Exposure to something for which you have an allergy
• Exposure to someone infected with the viral or bacterial form of conjunctivitis
• Using contact lenses, especially extended wear lenses
In both children and adults, pinkeye can cause inflammation in the cornea that can affect vision.
To diagnose conjunctivitis, a doctor will –
• look at the sign and symptoms
• ask some questions, for example, about eye history and allergies
• less commonly, take a swab to test for bacteria or viruses
The treatment depends on the cause-
This type of pinkeye often results from the viruses that causes a common cold. Just as a cold must run its course, the same is true for this form of pinkeye, which usually lasts from 4-7 days. It can be very contagious, so do everything you can to prevent its spread. Antibiotics will not help anything caused by a virus.
If bacteria, including those related to STDs, causes pinkeye, you can take antibiotics in the form of eyedrops, ointments or pills. You may need to apply eyedrops or ointments to the inside of your eyelid 3-4 times a day for 5-7 days.
For pinkeye caused by an irritating substance, use water to wash the substance from the eye for 5 minutes. Your eyes should begin to improve within 4 hours
Conjunctivitis tied to allergies should improve once you get your allergy treated and avoid your allergy trigger. Antihistamines (either oral or drops) can give relief in the meantime.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
According to Ayurveda, conjunctivitis is termed as Netrabhishyanda and it is caused impairment of pitta and kapha doshas.The eye is an abode of the fire element (pitta), but if kapha dosha (water element) gets aggravated in the eye, it starts attacking the fire element from the eye and turns it into a wetland.
• Netra Dhara –
Beneficial herbs to rinse eyes or paste over eyelids –
• Triphla Powder-
• Cucumber slice –
• Coriander leaves-
Effective Medications –
• Kaishore Gugglu
• Amlaki Rasayan
• Saptamrita lauha
Practice good hygiene to control the spread of pink eye. For example –
• Don’t touch your eyes with your hands
• Wash your hands often
• Use a clean towel and wash cloth daily
• Don’t share towels or wash cloths
• Don’t share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items
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