The inflammation of the conjunctiva, the underside of both the upper and lower eyelids and covering of the white portion of the eye is known as conjunctivitis. In Ayurveda, it is called as a condition of netraabhishyandam.
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS
In conjunctivitis, inflammation causes small blood vessels in the conjunctiva to become more prominent, resulting in a pinkish or reddish cast to your eyes. A virus, similar to the one that causes the common cold, usually causes it. Due to this reason, it is usual to have the symptoms of cold before, during and after a bout of conjunctivitis. However, there are instances of conjunctivitis that are bacterial and allergic in origin. A similar condition can result from an injury or if you rub your eyes too vigorously or it may also result form a foreign body in your eye.
Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by an allergy to pollen, cosmetics, animal skin and hair, skin medicines, air pollution, smoke or other substances. In all cases of conjunctivitis, the white part of the eye turns red and feels gritty. There may be a mild sensitivity to light and excessive tearing.
There is often a yellowish discharge, which forms a crust overnight. Bacterial infection produces a marked pus-like discharge and crusting, whereas viral infection may cause only a slight discharge. Viral conjunctivitis, in contrast to bacterial, may have as associated swelling and tenderness of the lymph node in front of the ear on the affected side. In allergic conjunctivitis, there is usually a long standing redness and itching of the white of the eye without any discharge all year round, but more severely in the pollen season. Your eyes may water, or make tears. You may have a running nose and sneeze a lot. Less commonly, there is a sudden white puffiness of the conjunctivitis, usually during the pollen season that disappears after a few hours.
SELF HELP APPROACH
- Avoid rubbing your eyes.
- Do not touch the eye area with your fingers. If you wish to wipe eyes, use tissues or clean and fresh handkerchief.
- With your eyes closed, apply a washcloth soaked in warm (not hot) water to the affected eye three to four times a day for at least five minutes at a time.
- Alternatively, you can also put a cold compress over your eyes for relief. Use a wash-cloth or small towel soaked in cold water or wrapped around ice-cubes.
- Avoid wearing eye make-up until the infection has completely cleared up.
- Do not cover or patch the eye. This can make the infection grow.
- Do not wear contract lenses while your eyes are infected.
- Wash your hands often and use your own towels. Pink eye is very contagious and can spread from one person to another by contaminated fingers, washcloths, or towels. Clean all personal items daily with soap and water.
- Do not touch the infected eye because the infection will spread to the good eye.
- If you can identify the cause of allergic conjunctivitis, it may be possible to prevent its occurrence. Anyhow, avoid airborne pollens, dust, mould spore and animal dander, or direct contact with chlorinated water or cosmetics.
- The decoction of turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a very cooling application in conjunctivitis; you can either wash your eyes with this decoction or apply the compress made with decoction over the eyes.
- The root of daaru haldi (Berberis aristica) is very efficacious in conjunctivitis. Make decoction by boiling two parts by weight of the root in 26 parts of water until the quantity is reduced to about three parts. Use it as an eye-ointment (collyrium) by mixing with honey.
- Triphala (harro+barro+aamala) is made by soaking 15 gm of triphala choorna in 200 ml of water for half an hour, boiling and filtering it. This is used for washing the affected eyes 3-4 times a day.
- Triphala choorna taken orally about 5 gm with water is useful for viral infections.
- Freshly extracted juice of aamla in the dose of 2 teaspoonfuls thrice a day is rewarding.
- Chandrodaya vati can be applied externally in chronic condition.