Also known as pinkeye, conjunctivitis is usually triggered by an infection or allergic reaction. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may help soothe the burn:
These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Continue reading the full conjunctivitis article for more in-depth, fully-referenced information on medicines, vitamins, herbs, and dietary and lifestyle changes that may be helpful.
Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the clear membrane that lines the eye.
Conjunctivitis is caused most commonly by infection from viruses or bacteria, or by an allergic reaction, though other causes exist, such as overexposure to sun, wind, smog, chlorine, or contact lens solution. Pinkeye is the common name for conjunctivitis. Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid; most commonly, it is caused by a bacterial infection.
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|See also: Homeopathic Remedies for Conjunctivitis and Blepharitis|
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Conjunctivitis and blepharitis may cause mild discomfort with tearing, itching, burning, light sensitivity, and thickening of the eyelids. They may also produce a crust or discharge, occasionally causing the eyelids to stick together during sleep. The eyes and eyelids may become red, but usually there is no blurring or change in vision.
Individuals with diagnosed conjunctivitis should avoid irritants, such as contact lenses or allergy-causing agents.
Vitamin A deficiency has been reported in people with chronic conjunctivitis.1 It is unknown whether vitamin A supplementation can prevent conjunctivitis or help people who already have the condition.
Several herbs have been traditionally used to treat eye inflammation. Examples include calendula, eyebright, chamomile, and comfrey. None of these herbs has been studied for use in conjunctivitis or blepharitis. As any preparation placed on the eye must be kept sterile, topical use of these herbs in the eyes should only be done under the supervision of an experienced healthcare professional.
Goldenseal and Oregon grape contain the antibacterial constituent known as berberine. While topical use of berberine in eye drops has been clinically studied for eye infections,2 the use of the whole herbs has not been studied for conjunctivitis or blepharitis.
1. Rankov BG. Vitamin A and carotene concentration in serum in persons with chronic conjunctivitis and pterygium. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1976;46:454–7 [in German].
2. Babbar OP, Chatwal VK, Ray IB, et al. Effect of berberine chloride eye drops on clinically positive trachoma patients. Ind J Med Res 1982;76:83–8.
Copyright © 2007 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. www.healthnotes.com
The information presented in Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires September 2008.