How to Treat Pink Eye
Pink eye is one of the most common, and easily spread, eye
infections in the United States, especially among children.
It refers to an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva,
the clear membrane that lines the inside of your eyelid and
helps to keep your eyelid and eyeball moist.
Pink eye is very contagious, especially among children
-- who like to share everything!
Fortunately, it's as easy to treat as it is to catch.
What Causes Pink Eye?
Most often, pink eye is caused by viruses, but it can also
be caused by bacteria, allergies (food
or environmental), certain STDs, dry eyes from exposure to
wind or sun, or an irritation to your eye (chemicals like
pool chlorine, dirt, smoke, shampoo,
etc.). Among newborns, pink eye can also be caused by a blocked
or narrow tear duct.
Of course, the characteristic symptom of pink eye is redness
in the white of your eye or inner eyelid, but it is far from
the only one. Other common symptoms of pink eye include:
Itchiness or burning in the eyes
Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
Feeling like something is stuck in your eye (a gritty
Discharge from the eyes that crusts over during the night
How is Pink Eye Treated
The method for treating pink eye depends on the cause (allergic,
bacterial, virus, etc.), however many cases go away on their
own within seven to 10 days with no treatment.
In the case of bacterial pink eye, antibiotic eyedrops or
ointment are sometimes prescribed. Pink eye caused by a virus
cannot be cured with antibiotics,
so the infection just has to run its course, similar to a
If you have pink eye, avoid touching your eyes, and,
since it's possible to reinfect yourself, change your
washcloths, towels and pillowcases daily.
If the pink eye is caused by allergies, anti-inflammatory
eyedrops may be prescribed, or it may clear on its own if
the allergic trigger is removed. Meanwhile, pink eye caused
by an irritating substance can be treated by washing the eye
gently with warm water for five minutes to remove the substance.
Pink Eye Spreads Easily, Here's How to Avoid Spreading
It (and Catching It)
You can catch pink eye very easily, through hand contact
or sharing makeup, towels, bed linens and contact lenses.
The infection spreads quickly among children who may rub their
eyes, then come into contact with another child.
The best way to prevent pink eye is through simple hygiene
practices, namely washing your hands regularly and not touching
If you already have pink eye, it's especially important to
avoid touching your eyes, and to wash your hands thoroughly
if you do, to avoid spreading the infection to others. You
should also discard any eye cosmetics you used during this
time (especially mascara), change your washcloth and towel
daily, and change your pillowcase often to avoid reinfecting
Pink eye is rarely serious, but it can be uncomfortable.
You can ease the symptoms of pink eye naturally by:
Not wearing contact lenses
Placing a warm (or cold for allergic pink eye) compress
on your eyes
Washing your face and eyelids with a mild soap to cleanse
Placing a cool, moistened chamomile tea bag on your closed
eyes for 10 minutes
Not rubbing your eyes, which can cause further irritation
You can also try out one of the following herbal remedies
from the University of Maryland Medical Center. They can be
used in a compress form made by steeping 1 teaspoon of herb
in 1 cup boiling water, letting the mixture cool and then
straining it well. Soak the cooled liquid onto a clean, soft
cloth or cotton balls and apply to your closed eyes for 10
minutes, three to four times a day. Choose from the following
Eyebright: Helps to fight infection and dry up excess
Chamomile: Helps fight infection
Fennel seed: Helps fight infection
Marigold: Soothes irritation
Ways to Prevent Injuries to Your Eyes
Causes Dark Circles Under the Eyes? How Can You Prevent Them?
of Maryland Medical Center