health Jun 3, 2021
Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk / Unsplash

A thin, transparent membrane that lines the inner side of the eyelid and lies over the white part of the eyeball is conjunctiva. Inflammation of the conjunctiva is known as Conjunctivitis or pinkeye.

During inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become more visible as they get swollen and become reddish and that is why the white part of the eye appears reddish or pink. Pink eye is irritating, but  rarely it is serious and affects the vision. During conjunctivitis, a sticky discharge (pus) oozes from the eyes  with a pricking sensation.

In general, conjunctivitis occurs in people whose immune system is compromised.

Conjunctivitis clears up with no long-term problems when proper care is taken to prevent its spread and by following all of the doctor's recommendations .

In some new born babies, a blocked or incompletely opened tear duct may cause conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis in the newborn may cause blindness if not treated.


Conjunctivitis is commonly caused by allergies, irritation, fungal, viral or bacterial infections, injury and in babies an incompletely opened tear duct. Conjunctivitis can be contagious, and its spread can be limited by early diagnosis and treatment.
The discomfort in the eye can be lessened by the treatment and it depends on the causative factors. Natural anti-inflammatory ingredients can be used to relieve inflammation, redness, pain and blurry vision.


Topical steroid drops can control most allergic conjunctivitis.
Generally, viral conjunctivitis has no specific cure. Symptomatic relief could be availed by the use of cool compresses and artificial tears. Topical drops containing corticosteroids may be prescribed to relieve inflammation.
To treat more serious forms of viral conjunctivitis, antiviral medication prescribed by a doctor is required. Antibiotic drugs are not effective against viruses as they will not cure viral conjunctivitis.
If the bacterial conjunctivitis is mild, it may get better in 2 to 5 days without antibiotic treatment. If the conjunctivitis occurs in people whose immune system is compromised, or caused by certain bacteria, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic medication in the form of either topical eye drops or ointment. Antibiotics may help shorten the length of infection, reduce complications, and reduce the spread to others.

Home remedies

  • 10 grams of cleaned Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) should be boiled in 1 liter water for at least 20-25 minutes and the water should be strained and filtered with a clean white cloth. This water may be used as an eyewash to get relief from itching, pain and inflammation,
  • Few drops of freshly prepared coriander juice or amla mixed with honey may be administered in both the eyes 2-3 times in a day to get relief from irritation and pain.
  • potato peels  can be applied on the eyes to reduce the inflammation.


Practicing good hygiene can control the spread of conjunctivitis.
If a person is already suffering from conjunctivitis,

  • his or her hands should be washed with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, before and after applying eye drops or ointment to  infected eyes.
  • Any discharge from the eyes has to be washed with clean hands several times a day by using a clean, wet washcloth or fresh cotton balls and the cotton balls are to be thrown after use.
  • pillowcases have to be changed very often.
  • pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels are to be washed in hot water and detergent
  • contact lenses are not to be used until eye doctor says to start wearing them again.
  • Eyes should not be rubbed or touched as it may worsen the condition.
  • Personal items, such as pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye or face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, contact lens storage cases, or eyeglasses are not to be shared.
  • swimming pool should not be used.

If Someone with Conjunctivitis is  Around us, the risk of infection can be reduced by

  • Washing hands after contact with the infected person or items he or she used,
  • Avoiding sharing items used by an infected person  such as pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye or face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, contact lens storage cases, or eyeglasses.
  • Immediately after birth, an antibiotic ointment has to be applied to the newborn's eyes to prevent eye infection.

By boosting the immune system, recurrent attacks can be prevented and by making the body unsuitable for bacterial or viral growth, the normal function of the eyes can be maintained.


A. Sandhya

M.Sc Zoology

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