The Best Way to Clean Your Eyes for those with Conjunctivitis: Bacterial or Viral
Viral Conjunctivitis is extremely contagious: Avoid touching your eyes. If you do touch your eyes and then touch the phone, the doorknob, etc, you can contaminate your other eye & everyone around you.
1. If only one eye is affected: Quarantine that eye: Do not touch other eye unless you have washed your hands with hot water and soap or used alcohol on the hands.
2. Use Cold Ice Packs to help decrease itchy sensation.
3. Use Artificial Tears: Non preserved is best and can use every hour since it has no preservative; Preserved tears should not be used more than 4x per day due to preservative (which can irritate the cornea). Tears can be put in refrigerator to help with symptoms as well.
4. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) if allowed by your MD, can be used to help with severe eye discomfort.
5. An eyeMD can prescribe steroid drops if your symptoms are severe. Steroids though can lengthen the time of viral infection, though some patients really do need them because of a severe infection (EKC: Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis).
1. The Goal is to remove discharge away from eye as often as possible. This can be achieved with the following;
a. Use the antibiotic drops and/or ointment as prescribed.
b. Use Warm compresses: The goal is to apply as much heat as you can tolerate to the base of the eyelash/eyelids to remove the normal (and abnormal) bacterial away from the eyelashes/eyelid. There are many ways to accomplish this. You can use hot water to directly wash your face or the below. Do this at least once per day, but more is better. In some patients once a day is not enough.
(1) Wet a clean washcloth with warm water,
(2) Wring it out, and place it over your closed eyelids for at least one minute.
(3) Repeat two or three times, rewetting the washcloth as it cools.
c. Boost your immune system: Vitamin D (safe sun exposure or pills by mouth: sugar free Vit D pills taste great (we get ours from Amazon: we use this as a family in winter months especially) and other antioxidants best obtained in food (green leafy veggies, dark colored fruits [blueberries, pomegranates, other berries] are best). Nutritional therapy: Two 1000 mg capsules of omega 3-fatty acid 3 times a day works great for eye health as well. An imbalance of omega fatty acids has been shown to cause abnormal secretions of the oil glands that help lubricate your eyes.
Once the infection is over, Practice Good Lid Hygiene:
1. Do not touch your eyes unless you have first washed your hands with soap and water.
-In my home, we teach the kids to wash your hands as soon as you get home always, no exceptions.
-We have alcohol pumps & baby wipes in the car to use after play dates or after school: I like to use the alcohol pump first, rub into hands & then use a baby wipe to remove the alcohol (and gel) smell once alcohol has dried off.
2. Use warm