Pink eye is the layman’s term for the medical condition conjunctivitis. It’s an eye condition that causes the eye to become pink and irritated. It is very contagious, with about 80% of infections being viral. And despite the high rate of viral infections, they typically remain undiagnosed because the symptoms resemble allergic conjunctivitis or dry eye. Viral pink eye differs from allergic pink eye in that signs include red eyes, tearing, and irritation, staring in one eye and then spreading to the other.
Although it is an irritating condition, pink eye tends to go away via home remedies and proper hygiene. The symptoms fade when the infection has gone or the allergic reaction comes to an end. Optometrists explain that there is no magic medicine to take that will make it go away. Pink eye is like the common cold in that regard. There are, however, a lot of things you can do to alleviate symptoms and promote faster healing. Use the following home remedies while you wait for pink eye to run its course, regardless of any underlying cause.
Make A Cold Compress
Give your eyes a rest and apply a soothing, cold washcloth or eye mask. In addition to relieving inflammation and soreness, the cold may also reduce itchiness. One medical review of studios found that a cold compress is one of the most effective ways to feel better when you have pink eye. Soak a clean washcloth or towel in cold water and wring out excess water. Apply it over your eyes for about five to 10 minutes. If an infection is the cause of pink eye, make sure that you do not reuse the washcloth, especially with other family members. Use a new clean washcloth when you want to apply another cold compress. If using an eye mask, make sure to properly sanitize it between uses.
Don’t Use Contacts
If you wear contact lenses, take them out until symptoms come to an end. Ophthalmologists say that removing contacts will reduce irritation and help prevent reinfection. If you were wearing contacts when you developed symptoms, make sure that you discard those contacts, in addition to everything else involved in wearing them. That includes the case, bottle of solution, and anything else. For the same reason, stop wearing and discard any eye makeup that you used when you first noticed symptoms.
Turn Off Your Screens
According to a 2021 study, looking at digital screens is associated with dry eye syndrome. The main thing to remember during your recovery period is to rest your eyes, which means avoiding screens. Take a break from working on a computer, scrolling through social media, or watching TV for extended periods. Entertain yourself the old fashioned way with a newspaper, a paperback book, or try painting. The main takeaway is to avoid any and all devices that irritate your eyes or cause them to dry out.
If your pink eye stems from allergies, meaning that it resulted from a bodily reaction to an allergen, then you need to minimize allergens in your space. Ease your symptoms by reducing your exposure to whatever triggered your pink eye. For example, maybe you started using a new detergent or face wash and the pink eye started after the new addition to your life. Find out what you changed in your routine or what recently entered your environment and remove the potential culprits. If you don’t know what the allergen is, consider talking to an optometrist to figure out the cause of your symptoms.
A mainstay of pink eye home treatment, artificial tears are lubricating drops that work to rinse out irritants in the eye. Whether it’s a microbe, pet dander, or cosmetic ingredient, these drops aim to get it out. Ideally, choose drops that are free of preservatives and irritating chemicals because you don’t want to worsen the pain or infection. Additionally, use single-use vials to prevent reinfection and store the drops in the refrigerator before each use. This helps to refresh your eye and relieve any discomfort or burning. As a final note for these drops, make sure that you don’t use the ones that promise relief from redness. They tend to contain a small amount of a medication that constricts blood vessels in the eyes. That can actually cause further irritation to your pink eye.