Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye. The conjunctiva is the membrane that covers the outer part of the eyeball and the inner lining of the eyelid. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include severe redness, itching, swollen eyelid, unusual discharge and a gritty sensation on the eye. Conjunctivitis can be caused by an allergic reaction, by a virus, by irritation or by a bacterial infection. The best eye infection treatments depend on the cause and severity of the eye inflammation and consequent infection, and they include antibiotics, eye drops and certain homeopathic treatments.
Most cases of conjunctivitis are the result of a virus, such as the common cold. This type of eye infection is highly contagious; care must be taken to ensure that the infection does not spread to the other eye or to other people. Treatments for viral conjunctivitis include antihistamine pills or antiviral eye infection drops to relieve the swelling and irritation. Bathing the eye in lukewarm water is a common and soothing eye infection remedy. Generally, a viral eye infection will eventually subside as the body's immune system fights the virus. No additional eye infection treatments are then required.
A bacterial eye infection is treated with specific antibiotic eye infection medication. Depending on the type of bacterial infection, a physician might prescribe eye infection drops such as sodium sulfacetamide and azithromycin or ointments such as bacitracin, neomycin or erythomycin. It is important to follow the correct dosage and duration of the prescribed eye infection treatments in order to completely eradicate the infection.
Pink eye caused by allergies or irritants is not treated as an eye infection, but if left untreated, it can lead to infections and can require eye infection treatments. For allergies, doctors recommend removing or avoiding the cause of the allergen. Over-the-counter or prescription eye drops provide relief for redness and discomfort. Irritants to the eye, such as chemical fumes or an eye injury, can be treated with an neutral or medicated eye wash and antibiotic eye infection medication.
Homeopathic treatments, administered by a professional, might provide relief for mild or viral conjunctivitis. Herbs such as belladonna and apis mellifica reduce swelling and redness, and they provide relief from burning sensations. Euphrasia and sulfur treat discharge and itchy eyes. Homeopathic eye infection treatments should be prescribed under the care of a trained professional who can assess the severity of infection and monitor the effectiveness of the remedy with possible side effects.