From Health Facts
Jump to: navigation, search
Latest Edit: Hector 2013-12-03 (EDT)

Conjunctivitis is the medical name for pinkeye. It is caused by inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. It can result in swelling, itching, burning, discharge and redness of the protective membrane that lines the eyelids and covers exposed areas of the white of the eye. It does not usually affect vision, yet it can be contagious if due to an infection.


Causes Infections, Environmental Chemicals, Environmental Allergies, Personal Care Products
See Also Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat Conditions, Upper respiratory tract infections, Blepharitis, Allergic Rhinitis, Vitamin A deficiency
Books Books on Head, Ears, Nose and Throat Conditions
Articles Articles on Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With conjunctivitis the primary cause is infection, yet other factors sometimes need to be considered.


  • Allergies can sometimes trigger allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Substances that cause irritation to the eye can cause conjunctivitis.


  • Personal care products can result in conjunctivitis either due to irritants in the product, especially if the product is not replaced frequently enough, or conjunctivitis can result if a person is intolerant to one of the chemicals in the products.

Medical Interventions

  • Medications
  • Contact lens products, eye drops, or eye ointments may contribute to conjunctivitis.

Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing is typically based on observation of the eye. Further testing is generally not required unless the conjunctivitis does not heal quickly or it reoccurs frequently. Further testing that may be done includes:

Associated Conditions

Conditions that may be associated with conjunctivitis include:


The most common symptoms include:

  • redness in one or both eyes
  • dryness or itchiness in one or both eyes
  • pain or burning sensation in one or both eyes
  • a gritty feeling in one or both eyes
  • watering of the eyes
  • a discharge in one or both eyes that forms a crust during the night that may cause eyelashes and eyelids to become stuck together while you are asleep
  • tearing
  • sensitivity to light

Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis is contagious. Early diagnosis of the cause is important to prevent spread. Bacterial conjunctivitis is more common in children than in adults.

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Conjunctivitis is typically an acute condition that will generally clear without medical attention, unless it is bacterial in nature.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Article Natural Eye Therapies You Can Use: 2011 Update , 2011 October NDNR

Home Care

Home Care strategies include:

Treatment of Conjunctivitis

  • Apply a cool compress to your eyes. To make a compress, soak a clean, lint-free cloth in water and wring it out before applying it gently to your closed eyelids.
  • For some people a warm compress may be feel better.
  • Do not touch both eyes with the same cloth in order to reduce the risk of spreading pink eye from one eye to the other.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses when the eyes are irritated. If irritation to the eyes continues you may need to replace your contact lenses or avoid wearing them all together.

Note: Conjunctivitis is contagious. Taking steps to prevent the spread is important. Pink eye symptoms may resolve in three or four days, yet a person may be contagious for a week or more. Children may return to school, or adults to work, when they no longer experience tearing and matted eyes.

Prevention Strategies

  • Don't touch your eyes with your hands.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Use a clean towel and washcloth daily.
  • Don't share towels or washcloths.
  • Change your pillowcases often.
  • Replace eye cosmetics, such as mascara and eye shadow, at least every 4 to 6 months.
  • Don't share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Ensure that you get adequate sleep to aid in healing.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for conjunctivitis include:

  • Honey has amazing anti-bacterial properties. Make an eyewash compress with equal parts of warm milk and honey to soothe and treat conjunctivitis. Apply the compress to the eye two to three times a day.
  • A Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) tea bag applied to the eye can help relieve itchy eyes. The tannin in tea will help sooth itchiness and reduce inflammation.
  • Homeopathic eye solutions may prove beneficial.