Natural Remedies for conjunctivitis or pinkeye will be needed if the membrane lining of the inner part of the eyelid becomes inflamed. The eyes may appear swollen and bloodshot, often itchy and irritated. If there is pus, eyelids usually stick together after being closed. There may not be pain but a sensation of sand in the eye.
The conjunctiva is the delicate membrane that connects the eyeball and the inner eyelid. It is usually transparent but turns a blood-red color when irritated or inflamed. There may possibly be some discharge from the eye. The origin may be viral if the discharge is thin and watery. If it is white and stringy, the cause may be allergenic. If there is pus, it may be bacterial in origin.
Conjunctivitis is highly contagious when it is caused by a virus. The cause is generally viral or bacterial infection. But physical or chemical injury may be involved (such as injury to the eye, bacterial infection, allergens, dust, animal danders, pollen, medications, contact lens solutions, fumes, smoke, chemicals, cosmetics, tobacco smoke, air pollution, or other foreign substances in the eye).
Be careful when out swimming in pool water. It can cause eye and ear infections. Straining one’s eyes may also produce irritation or congestion of the conjunctiva. It typically occurs during a case of measles. In chronic or persistent cases, conjunctivitis may be related to a lack of vitamin A or toxicity due to liver or kidney dysfunctions.
When the cause is a result of allergens, the infection may reoccur at a particular time each year. In young children, “viral conjunctivitis” can occur from spring till fall and clear up in the winter. Viral conjunctivitis is often found among groups of schoolchildren. Conjunctivitis (pinkeye) is Western civilization’s most common form of eye infection.
Infants born at a hospital, especially those who remain there for extended periods after birth, may be exposed to germs in the nursery. Those born at home are less likely to contract newborn conjunctivitis.
Chlamydial conjunctivitis typically begins five to twelve days after birth. Gonorrheal conjunctivitis usually appears two to four days following birth. Both infections are transmitted from the mother during passage through the birth canal.
Natural Remedies for Conjunctivitis
- Take beta carotene (1000 IU, thrice daily for one week; then 25,000 IU daily). This will provide much-needed vitamin A.
- Take one comprehensive B complex tablet daily. Also, vitamin C with bioflavonoids (1000 to 5000 mg in divided daily doses). Zinc (25 mg daily).
- Apply warm poultices of three percent boric acid on the closed eye. A boric acid ophthalmic ointment may be obtained without a prescription from your local pharmacy.
- Apply charcoal poultices overnight. Mix enough water in to make a thick paste. And spread it over a piece of cloth larger than the inflamed area. Hold it in place with an ace bandage and leave it on overnight. Use enough pressure to hold it in place—but not so tight that pressure is placed on the lid or eyeball. To avoid spreading the infection, carefully dispose of the cloth in the morning. Do not save and use it again.
- During the daytime, slurry charcoal water can be applied. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of powdered charcoal to a cup of water. Boil, let cool, and strain through several layers of cloth. With a dropper, put four to five drops of the clear fluid in the affected eye by pulling back the lower eyelid and applying it every two hours. Wash hands carefully after each treatment.
- Ice-cold compresses can be laid on the eye during the acute stage. The eye should always be closed when doing this. For half an hour, apply a wrung-out washcloth to the eye; change it every two to three minutes; stop for thirty to sixty minutes; and repeat for another thirty minutes.
- Very warm and cold applications can be applied every four hours. But the water should never be too hot. Apply a cloth wrung out of hot water for two minutes, then a cold cloth for thirty seconds. Do this for fifteen minutes.
- Saline irrigations are also excellent. Add two level teaspoons of salt to one-quarter water to rinse discharges from the eyes.
- Bacteria causing the infection may be carried on towels, clothing, paper, toys, or hands. Launder bed and bathroom linens separately from those of other family members. All in the home should frequently wash their hands. Keep fingers away from the face.
- Put a chamomile tea bag in warm (not hot) water for two to three minutes, squeeze out the excess liquid, and place it over the infected eye for two to three minutes. Do this three to four times a day.
Other excellent herbs for compresses and washes include:
- Aloe vera juice
- Raspberry leaf
- Slippery elm
- Gauze pads saturated with witch hazel and placed over the closed eyes for fifteen minutes may help relieve irritation.
- Children prone to conjunctivitis should be protected from getting too cold; the body finds it harder to resist bacteria when cold.
- If you wear contacts, put them away for the several days these treatments continue. Disinfect or, if necessary, replace contacts.
- Abstain from using eye cosmetics. They sometimes introduce infection into the eyes. Wash hands before using them.
- Do not share towels, washcloths, or cosmetics.
Natural Remedies for Allergenic Conjunctivitis
- Take 1000 to 3000 mg of vitamin C daily in divided doses.
- Take quercetin (1000 mg daily and increase to 5000 mg daily till symptoms are gone). It is one of the bioflavonoids.
- Cold compresses are also suitable for this infection when caused by an allergy. Soak a washcloth in a dish with ice cubes and water. Squeeze excess water, fold it, and place it over both eyes. Keep it there till it warms. Repeat until the itching subsides.
Natural Remedies for Gonorrheal Conjunctivitis
In newborns: Gonococcal germs are sensitive to slight heating or chilling. Therefore, flush the eyes with a bit of saline (salt) solution (heated to 108 degrees Fahrenheit) for one full minute. Immediately afterward, apply an ice water compress, changed every fifteen seconds. Continue for five minutes. Watch the infant for the next five days for signs of recurrence. Get a culture of secretions as soon as possible if gonorrhea is suspected.
When something gets in your eye, get it out. Grasping the eyelash and pulling the upper lid induces tears and helps wash out foreign bodies.
- Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 400, 401. Print.
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