Treatment for bacterial pink eye and sticky eyes
The presence of a sticky discharge from the eye, particularly after sleeping would indicate that this is bacterial conjunctivitis. This form of pink eye may spread to both eyes and is very contagious. The bacteria create the yellow or green matter which collects in the eye. This may be a particular problem during sleep when the eyelids may become stuck together. Upon waking, the eyelashes are matted and the eyelids may have swollen in response to the presence of the discharge.
Bathing the eyes will immediately treat the problem and bring relief. Use clean water, preferably boiled and cooled. Soak a cotton pad, lightly squeeze and wipe the eye from the inner corner to the outer corner in one stroke. Discard the cotton, and repeat the process, each time using clean cotton. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is extremely infectious and for this reason you must not keep wiping the eye with the same cotton pad. It is also imperative that each eye is bathed with separate pads to avoid further contamination. Once the eyelashes are clean and the eyes are clear, any swelling of the eyelids should noticeably reduce. While clear, sterile water is all that is necessary for this treatment, some eye care professionals may suggest using baby shampoo if the crusting is very excessive.
Bathing the eye may be necessary for several days, but an improvement should be noticed in the severity of the infection after 3-4 days. If it does not, then medical attention should be sought. The doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment to clear the bacterial infection. It is much easier to apply ointment to a young child than eye drops. The medication may cause blurred vision for up to 20 minutes, but will eventually clear. There should be a marked improvement in the eye in 1-2 days with the use of medication. Use the eyedrops or ointment for as long as the doctor has advised, to avoid a recurrence of the pink eye infection. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed for certain types of bacterial pink eye, especially those infections caused by staph or strep. Another form of pink eye common to children is caused by a non-viral form of the flu which must be treated with antibiotics as well.
Treatment for viral conjunctivitis
Unlike bacterial conjunctivitis, a viral eye infection causing pink eye symptoms does not respond at all to antibiotic medication. The main symptoms of viral pink eye are the eyes watering continuously and feeling sore, gritty and itchy. Viral conjunctivitis typically only affects one eye at a time and may cause crusting in addition to the other symptoms.
Symptoms can be relieved with the use of eye drops or artificial tears being applied to the eye. The best way to apply eyedrops is to pull down the lower eyelid with one finger and apply 2-3 drops into the pocket which is created. A couple of blinks will distribute the eyedrops all over the eye and will bring soothing relief.
Applying a cold compress using a pad of sterile cotton may also soothe the eye, reducing the desire to itch the eye, which only increases the soreness.
There is no cure for pink eye caused by a virus, but managing the symptoms will help make the problem bearable. Viral conjunctivitis may take 7-10 days to clear, and in some rare cases up to 3 - 4 weeks.
Treatment for allergic conjunctivitis
Some pink eye conditions are caused by hay fever, an allergy to pollen, animal dander or an airborne irritant such as smoke or dust. The eyes may itch and water continuously. If the pink eye comes and goes daily, and is accompanied by a runny nose, it may be a reaction to an allergen.
Bathing the eyes with running water may bring instant but temporary relief, as well as a cold compress. The use of anti-histamines to treat the allergy is generally the best treatment, and will prevent recurrence of the symptoms when the patient comes into contact with the allergen again. Prescription strength and over the counter anti-histamine eye drops can be prescribed to treat allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis can be prevented if a drop is used every morning during allergy season. The doctor may also prescribe decongestants, steroids and anti-inflammatory eye drops depending on the severity of the allergic conjunctivitis.
Pink eye in babies and children
Pink eye is thought to affect between 1.6 and 12 percent of all newborn babies in the United States. The condition is so common that it has become standard practice to treat babies' eyes with silver nitrate or antibiotic eye drops immediately after birth to lessen the chance of infection. Children, especially those in school or day care settings, are also much more likely to spread pink eye from each other, which is why it is frequently thought of as a childhood condition.
Some additional risk factors for pink eye
In addition to those risk factors discussed above, including the general close proximity of children, pink eye of all forms can be triggered by other conditions include:
Blepharitis (an inflammation of the eyelids which can be a chronic condition for some people.)
Dry eye, also a potentially chronic problem
Collagen and vascular disease
Pink Eye is a common problem, generally caused by a viral or bacterial infection in one or both eyes. Non-contagious pink eye can be caused by allergens such as dust and smoke as well. The symptoms are many and may include a watery or sticky discharge, a red or pink hue to the lining of the eye, swelling of the eyelid or a gritty sensation of a foreign body in the eye. In some cases, there may also be some mild to moderate sensitivity to light. Once pink eye has been diagnosed and more serious eye disorders have been ruled out, treatment may be considered.
Pink eye disorders will generally disappear in a few days without any treatment. Viral conjunctivitis, which often accompanies a cold, may take 7-10 days to clear. Bacterial conjunctivitis, with the accompanying sticky discharge will usually disappear after 4-7 days without any anti-biotic treatment. However, enduring the irritation and symptoms for 7 days may seem like a lifetime! Here are some suggestions for relieving the symptoms, which will make the pink eye much more bearable and may speed up the healing process too.