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The sclera or white of the eye is covered by translucent membrane called the conjunctiva, which easily becomes inflamed if exposed to irritation or infection. This inflammation, known as conjunctivitis, or pink eye makes the normally the white part of the eyeball appear pinkish or reddish in color. Pink eye may start in one eye, but many people get conjunctivitis in both eyes at the same time. Conjunctivitis usually doesn't hurt, but itching can be annoying. Sometimes it feels like you have an eyelash or a speck of sand in your eye and can't get it out.This comes on relatively quickly and lasts for a fairly short time.

Symptoms of PINK EYE / conjunctivitis

The symptoms of conjunctivitis include red, itching, burning eyes which water a good deal . Mostly both eyes are affected, but often one starts before the other.

With infectious conjunctivitis:-

The inner eyelids are often inflamed which tends to gum the lids together overnight and there may be a discharge from the eyes, which tends to gum the eyelids together overnight.

With bacterial conjunctivitis:-

The discharge tends to be the pus like causes the eyelids to stick together when the child awakens in the morning. Swelling of the conjunctiva, redness , tearing .

With viral conjunctivitis:-

The discharge will be thinner and more watery Most cases of viral conjunctivitis will run their course in about three weeks. Irritation,  Red eye.

Causes of PINK EYE / conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is normally caused by an allergy to house dust or make-up, or by reaction to some kind of environmental pollution, such as factory fumes, tobacco smoke or too much chlorine in a swimming pool. Conjunctivitis may also result from a bacterial or viral infection, in which case it can be spread rapidly from one person to another, especially if strict rules of hygiene are not observed. This is known as infectious conjunctivitis. All types of infectious conjunctivitis are contagious and can spread from one eye to the other by touching the eyes. It can be spread by coughing or sneezing. Bacteria or viruses can get in your eyes through contact with contaminated objects. . The severity of the infection depends on the type of bacteria involved. Bacterial conjunctivitis is often caused by bacteria such as staphylococcus and streptococcus Viral conjunctivitis often occurs in community epidemics, with the virus transmitted in schools, workplaces and physicians' offices. The usual modes of transmission are contaminated fingers, medical instruments and swimming pool water Viruses, like the kind that can give you a cold, can cause conjunctivitis, too. Allergic reactions, eg hayfever, may cause conjunctivitis, but do not usually cause a sticky discharge .

Incubation period of PINK EYE / conjunctivitis

The incubation time for bacterial conjunctivitis is a few days. In viral cases, it can be up to a week.


The doctor will usually diagnose the condition based on examination of your eyes and the history that you give. He will ask about your medical history and if you have been near someone who has conjunctivitis. Your doctor will examine your eyes, he might use special fluorescent eye drops to examine the eye better. He will also check for enlarged lymph nodes near your ear and jaw. If the conjunctivitis appears to be caused by bacteria, your doctor may get lab tests of a sample of the pus to see what type of bacteria are present. He will know if you have conjunctivitis by looking carefully at your eyes to see if they are red and if any liquid is coming from them. The doctor will want to know that you can see OK and that nothing has gotten into your eye. Finally, your doctor may examine your ears to see if you have an ear infection caused by the same bacteria that can cause conjunctivitis.


Conjunctivitis requires medical attention. The appropriate treatment depends on the cause of the problem. Treatment for neonatal conjunctivitis involves antibiotic eyedrops and ointments, oral antibiotics, or intravenous antibiotics, depending on the severity of the infection and the organism responsible for it .

For the allergic type , cool compresses and artificial tears sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases. In more severe cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be prescribed. If your doctor thinks that the problem is allergic, then you may be prescribed antihistamines, sodium cromoglycate eye drops, or nedocromil eye drops Topical antihistamines, in the form of eye drops, may prove the most effective way to get relief from Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis New and highly potent prescription topical antihistamines are also available from your doctor that work on contact and provide hours of relief with virtually no side-effects.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments that cover a broad range of bacteria. If you have conjunctivitis caused by bacteria, the doctor will probably prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment for you. Babies are usually given the ointment and kids and adults get the eye drops Vasoconstrictor and antihistamine combinations in eye-drop form may be very helpful in relieving symptoms.

Like the common cold, there is no cure for viral conjunctivitis ; however, the symptoms can be relieved with cool compresses and artificial tears (found in most pharmacies). For the worst cases, topical steroid drops may be prescribed to reduce the discomfort from inflammation. Viral conjunctivitis usually resolves within 3 weeks

Antihistamine pills may also relieve the itching and redness.

When to call a doctor ?

  • If there is severe eye pain.
  • If there is any loss of vision.
  • If there is blurred vision.
  • If light causes pain in the eye.
  • If the pupil is shaped irregularly or does not react to changes in light.
  • If the redness has persisted for more than three days.
  • If the area over the inner eye"s tear duct is swollen or red.
  • If there is a thick yellow or greenish pus like discharge dripping from the eye.

General home care for PINK EYE / conjunctivitis :-

  • Do not rub the affected eyes as the inflammed tissues may be injured.
  • Do not touch the unaffected eye to prevent the infecting germs from one eye to another.
  • Clean the eyes with warm water regularly to remove discharge and crust.
  • Wash your hands every time you touch the affected eye or the surrounding area.
  • People who suffer from conjunctivitis should have a special towel that only they use.


  • Water :- Washing the eyes several times a day with cool water will soothe the inflammation.Witch hazel American Indians used witch hazel for inflammation. Use a gauze pad or cottonballs soaked in witch hazel extract as a compress over closed eyes. Witch hazel has astringent properties and will help reduce the swelling.
  • Honey :- You may either put a drop or two of honey directly on your eyes or put three tablespoons in 2 cups of boiling water, stir to dissolve, let it cool, then use as an eyewash several times a day. The honey has antibacterial properties and unpasteurized honey has antibiotic properties. Honey will soothe the eye and promote healing.
  • Fresh Fruit :- The best way to commence treatment for conjunctivitis is to adopt an exclusive fresh fruit diet for a week. In this regimen, the three meals a day should consist of fresh, juicy seasonal fruits. Bananas should, however, not be taken. Those with acute conjunctivitis should undertake a juice fast for three or four days.
  • Potato :- Grate a potato and place on the eye. It is an astringent and will help reduce the inflammation. The potato may also be made into a poultice and placed over the eye for 15 minutes. Do this for three successive nights.
  • Tea :- Tea contains bio flavonoids that fight viral and bacterial infections and can help reduce inflammation. Put a moist teabag of eyebright tea on the affected eye for several minutes. Repeat several times a day. If your eye is swollen, moisten the teabag with cool water. The tannic acid in the tea will soothe the itching.
  • Chamomile :- Add 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers to 1 cup of boiled water. Steep for 5 minutes, strain, let cool, and use as an eyewash. May also be made into a compress.
  • Steep equal parts of chamomile and eyebright in boiling water, cool, and use as an eyewash.
  • Add 12 drops of tincture of chamomile to 1 cup of boiled water, cool, and use as an eyewash.
  • Rose oil :- Make a warm compress with a few drops

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