Conjunctivitis, sometimes called 'Pink Eye' or 'Red Eye' causes redness and inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye (the conjunctiva). It is often called 'pink', or red eye'. Symptoms include itchiness and watering of the eyes, and sometimes a sticky coating on the eyelashes, especially if it's caused by an allergy. It can affect one or both eyes.
Conventional Medical Treatment
NHS Choices outlines the conventional treatment of Conjunctivitis. It says that the recommended treatment for conjunctivitis depends on whether it is caused by an infection, or an allergic reaction.
NHS Choices says that most cases of infective conjuctivitis "do not require medical treatment" and will clear up "in one to two weeks". It suggests various 'self-help' treatments, all sensible measures, involving removing contact lenses,cleaning away any sticky discharge, and keeping you hands clean. Treat starts when the infection becomes severe, or lasts for more than two week, Then, Antibiotics are prescribed.
Choloramphenicol, usually in eye drops. There is a warning to consult a doctor "if the drops are not suitable for you".
Fusidic acid, again in eye drop form, prescribed if Choloramphenicol is not suitable, with the warning that children, and older people, should not use it too often. However, it is 'the preferred treatment' for pregnant women.
NHS Choices admits the following 'side-effects' on the use of these eye drops. Blurred vision, avoiding driving or operating machinery after using the eye drops, stinging, burning, eye pain sensitivity to light, loss of vision, intense redness in eyes.
NHS Choices further divides this type of conjunctivitis into 4 main types.
• seasonal conjunctivitis: typically caused by an allergy to pollen
• perennial conjunctivitis: usually caused by an allergy to dust mites or pets
• contact dermatoconjunctivitis: usually caused by an allergy to eye drops or cosmetics
• giant papillary conjunctivitis: usually caused by an allergy to contact lenses
Again, sensible self-help methods are advised, the removal of contact lenses, a cool compress over the eyes, or a wet flannel, and avoiding exposure the the allergen.
Drugs for these allergic conditions include:
Antihistamine Eye Drops such as Azelastine, Emedastine and Ketotifen. All of them are not suitable for children under 3 years of age, and Antazoline with xylometazoline (Otrivine-Antistin) which is not suitable for children under 12 years, although it is available without prescription from pharmacies! Pregnant women are advised to see a doctor!
Oral antihistamines, like cetirizine, fexofenadine, and loratadine, with the advice not to take them if pregnant or breasfeeding.
Mast cell stabilisers. These are prescribed in the form of eye drops, and include lodazamide, nedocromil sodium and sodium cromoglicate
Corticosteroids. These drugs are prescribed is symptoms are 'particularly severe', but they are "not usually prescribed unless absolutely necessary".
The Homeopathic Treatment of Conjunctivitis
Homeopathy does not treat illness or diseases. It treats the individual who has been diagnosed with a particular illness or disease. The distinction is important, and if you wish to read more about this, click on the chapter “Illness Diagnosis” above.
The following homeopathic remedies for the treatment of conjunctivitis have been outlined on the National Center for Homeopathy website. They are all safe, without any side effects, and if the symptoms are similar, they have regularly been found to be effective.
Puffy swelling of the eyelids. The eyes feel better from cold applications. Stinging, burning pain may be experienced, and the eyelids may stick together. A person who needs this remedy often feels irritable.
With this remedy there can be swelling of the eyelids with yellowish or pus-like discharge as well as redness of the whites and inner corners of the eyes. The person’s eyes may be tired and achy, worse from light and warmth, and better from cold compresses and fresh air.
Patients needing this remedy often have intense redness of the eyes, including bloodshot appearance to the whites. There may be throbbing pain or the eye may feel hot. Bright lights and even loud noises may increase the discomfort. The patient may also have a fever. Belladonna is useful when there has been a rapid onset of symptoms.
This remedy is frequently called on when the patient has symptoms that center on the eyes. There is often a large quantity of tears that burn the eye and surrounding skin. At times a greenish or whitish discharge may form with a feeling as though a foreign object, such as sand, is in the eye. There can also be a profuse bland discharge from the nose.
When this remedy is called for, the eyes feel sore or bruised, with inflammation and burning pain. Yellow discharge can stick the eyelids shut, especially in the morning. Warm compresses and warmth in general, often make the patient feel better. The patient is often extremely sensitivity to cold - a chilly patient - and can also be sensitive to light and noise. Irritability can also be a feature of the case.
Patients needing this remedy often feel lousy and are sensitive to both heat and cold. Discharge is greenish-yellow and can irritate the lids and margins of the eyes. A person who needs this remedy often has very offensive breath and lots of salivation with thirst. There can also be eruptions around the eyes and on the lids of someone who needs this remedy.
This remedy is often called for when there is a great deal of thick, yellow, itchy discharge from the eye. The discharge generally doesn't irritate the skin. The person needing this remedy can be needy as well as worse in a warm room. They are also often thirstless. Cool compresses applied to the eyes is often soothing.
This remedy may be helpful for patients whose eyes are red with burning and itching. The whites of the eyes look red and bloodshot, and the tears feel hot. Symptoms are worse from heat.