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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)- An Ayurvedic Perspective

Abstract

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) is a common eye infection which causes inflammation of the tissues which line the eyelids. The eyes are the main organ which allows us to see objects and focus which sends the visual information to your brain. Eyes can see in a 200-degree direction, which includes the front and side parts. Eyes provide the living organism vision which can receive visual details and enables independent vision. The eye is a complex optical system, which collects the light from the surrounding and regulates the density of light and the lenses get focused and form an image. Behind the eye, the optic nerve carries the impulses to the brain and the macula is the extra sensitive part of the retina which provides you with central vision. In this article, we are going to discuss its various types, symptoms and its ayurvedic aspect in detail further in the article.

Conjunctivitis, Pink Eye, An Ayurvedic Perspective

Introduction

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) is the inflammation of the membrane which lines the eyeball and eyelids. This membrane is known as Conjunctiva, where the blood vessels get swollen and become irritated and more visible. It is more commonly caused by viral infections which can also be seen in bacterial infections or some allergic infections or in babies where an incomplete opened tear duct is seen. The blood vessels in the conjunctiva get swollen and inflamed. About 3-6 million people get acute conjunctivitis each year in the United States. The Pink Eyes, the white part of the eyes get reddish and the eyelids get puffy and droopy.

Difference Between Stye And Pink Eyes?

  • Both Pink Eye and Stye have common symptoms as both include redness, sensitivity to light and crusting over the lids, but both conditions have a different cause.
  • As Stye is caused due to infection of the Oil Glands and causes painful bumps inside or outside the eye or near the lashes.
  • But in Pink Eyes it does not cause any bump over lashes and is mainly due to infection of viruses, bacteria and allergies.

Causes And Types Of Pink Eyes

The Pink and Reddish colour of the eye happens when the vessels of blood get accumulated in the membrane of the eye which gets inflamed and is more visible. The Main Causes of Inflammation are-

  • Viruses- It is the most common cause of Pink Eye such as Corona Virus such as the Common cold. This includes herpes simplex and Varicella Zoster virus. These infections are very contagious and can spread through direct and indirect contact.
  • Bacteria- The most common type of Bacteria which causes bacterial conjunctivitis such as Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumonia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
  • Allergens- This includes Moulds, pollen and various other allergens, These allergens produce an antibody known as Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which triggers the special cells in mucous in the lining of eyes and airways which produces histamine and a number of allergic symptoms which causes intense itching and watery nasal discharge. Also known as Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis. 
  • Irritating Substances- These may include Shampoo, Cosmetics, Contact lenses and Dirt
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections- Herpes simplex, Chlamydia which causes STIs. Can be seen in both adults and Newborns.
  • Foreign Objects in the Eyes
  • Blocked or incomplete tear ducts in babies
  • Various Autoimmune systems cause pink eyes.

Symptoms And Signs Of Pink Eyes

  • Redness in the white part of the eye and on the inner lid of the eye
  • Green discharge from the eye
  • Blurred Vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Swollen Eyelid
  • Thick eye crust over the lashes after sleep
  • Itchy eyes
  • Increased tearing
  • Gritty feeling in one or both eyes
  • Burning Eyes (which is caused by chemicals and irritants)

How Is Pink Eye Spread?

It can spread due to-

  • Due to close contact (touching, shaking) and the viruses, bacteria can spread
  • By touching the contaminated surfaces with various bacteria, viruses
  • Sexual contact can be spread through infected semen and vaginal fluid.

Diagnosis

  • Vision Test
  • External eye examination using bright light and magnification
  • Examination of the inner eye
  • Conjunctival tissue smear

Treatment Of Pink Eye

  • Chemical Conjunctivitis- rinse your eyes with saline water and topical steroids are prescribed over the symptoms.
  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis- In bacterial Conjunctivitis, antibiotics are the common treatment.
  • Viral Conjunctivitis- Using the warm compress, moistened warm water which is helpful in soothing the symptoms
  • Allergic Conjunctivitis- Antihistamines such as Loratadine and Diphenhydramine and Anti-inflammatory eye drops to stop the inflammation.

Complications

  • Pain in the Eye
  • Stuck in the Eye
  • Blurred Vision
  • Sensitivity to light

Preventing The Spread Of Pink Eye

  • Wash your hands
  • Use a clean towel and wash clothes daily
  • Change your pillowcase often
  • Throw any old cosmetics such as Mascara, Eyeliner
  • Don't share any cosmetics and personal items with any others.

Lifestyle And Home Remedies

  • Apply a Compression to eyes- Soak a clean lint-free cloth in water and apply it gently to the closed eyelids. A cold compress can also soothe the inflammation.
  • Try Eye Drops- Artificial tears relieve the symptoms and the drops must contain Antihistamines which will be helpful in allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Stop Wearing Contact Lenses

Ayurvedic Concept

Conjunctivitis is known as Netrabhishanda and Abhisyandain which affects all the parts of the eyes. Abhisyanda is derived from two words Abhi (profuse) and Syandana (discharge). It means there is profuse discharge from all the parts of the eyes. According to Ayurveda, Tridoshas are responsible for a healthy body and if there is any imbalance in Tridoshas. There are different types of Conjunctivitis according to Doshas-

  1. Vataja Abhishyanda (sub-acute catarrhal conjunctivitis) - Pain in the eyes, Hypersensitivity,  Foreign body sensation and ocular dryness.
  2. Pittaja Abhishyanda (Acute Catarrhal conjunctivitis) - Burning Sensation in the eyes, Yellowish discolouration in the eyes.
  3. Kaphaja Abhishyanda (Acute Muco purulent conjunctivitis)- Severe Itching, whitish discolouration and discharge from the eyes.
  4. Raktaja Abhishyanda- Severe Itching, Pain, Burning sensation, and redness in the eyes.

Samprapti

It can be considered under two headings-

  1. Samanya Samprapti- Due to Ahitkar Aahar, Vihara, Doshas get vitiated and move in the Upper parts of the body through various Siras and Srotas and these doshas get vitiated into the Netra and cause Various Netras Rogas. 
  2. Vishishta Samprapti of Abhishyanda- It gets divided into various stages on the basis of Kriya Kaal like Sanchya, Prakopa, Prasara, Sthansamshraya, Vyakt and Bheda Awastha.
    • Sanchayasvastha- Doshas Sanchaya leads to Netra Rogas in two ways, Due to Vitiated Ahara-Vihara and Agnantuja Vyadhi leads to Tridoshas Prakopa and Agnimandya which in turn forms the Ama (endotoxins) and Vyadhi takes place.
    • Prakopavastha- There will be Provocation of Doshas which leads to continuing the Nidana Sewan.
    • Prasaravastha- There will be diffusion of the doshas which takes place in the body through various Siras and Srotas which moves towards Urdhvajatrughata Srotasa.
    • Sthanasamshryavastha- There is the localization of Doshas in all the parts of the eyes and shows various signs of Redness, Itching and Pain.
    • Vyaktavastha- In this stage, there are cardinal features such as profuse discharge in all parts of the eyes.
    • Bhedavastha- It leads to various complications such as Adhimantha and Savrana Shukla.

Samprapti Ghataka

  • Doshas- Tridoshas and Rakta
  • Dushayas- Rasa and Rakta
  • Agni- Mandagni
  • Srotasa- Rasavaha and Rakta Vaha
  • Sroto Dushti- Sanga, Ati Prevariti and Vimargagam
  • Rogamarga- Madhyama
  • Adhisthana- Saravaakshi
  • Vyadhi Svabhava-  Chirakari

Chikitsa

  1. Vataja Abhishyanda- In vataja Abhishyanda the following chikitsa are-
    • Sneha Panam (Ghrit Paan)- Intake of ghee after meals, intake of milk and ghee with Triphala. 
    • Mrudu Sweden (Seka)- Anupa mamsa, Erand Moola Patra which is used as nasya and Putpaka.
    • Aashychoyotan yogas (eye drops)- With the decoction of Nimba patra swaras, Netra Bindu (Gulab Jala- 1,2 bottles), Phullika Drava, Tankan or Sphatika eye drops and medicated milk which is prepared from Kantakari moola. 
    • Pindika- Hot Pindika with Erand patra moola and Twacha
    • Anajana- Yashtimadhu, Haridra, Hareetaki, Devadaru when mixed equally and grind in Aja Ksheer, Madhu, Saindhava Lavana, Swaran Garica, ground well and get mixed and used as Anjana.
    • Bidalaka- Hareetaki, which is fried in ghrit and is applied on the eyelids, Saindhava Lavan, Daru Haridra, Gyrica, Haretaki and Rasanjan is mixed into a paste and used on eyelids.
  2. Pittaja Abhisyanda Chikitsa- In Pittaja Abhisyanda the chikitsa is as follows-
    • Seka Yogas- Chandan, Nimba Patra, Yashtimadhu, Saindhava Lavan when mixed in water and used as Seka with Honey.
    • Aashchyotana Yoga- Medicated Milk when mixed with Draksha, Yashtimadhu, Manjishta and Jeevaneeya Dravayas.
    • Pindi- Amalaki and Mahanimba Patra Pindi are used. 
    • Bidalaka- Chandan, Sariva, Manjistha, Padmaka, Yashtimadhu and Jatamansi are mixed and applied over the eyelids.
    • Anjana- Swarna Bhasma Stanya
  3. Kaphaja Abhisyanda Chikitsa-  In Kaphaja Abhisyanda the chikitsa is as follows-
    • Pindi- Shigru Patra Kalka (lukewarm Pindi is used)
    • Aashchyotan- Saindhava Lavana and Lodhra are fried in ghrit and grind in water which is used for Aashchyotana
    • Bidalaka- Shunthi, Hareetaki, Rasanjan
    • Anjana- Ksharanjan is used.
  4. Rakthaja Abhishyanda Chikitsa- In Rakta Abhishyanda Chikitsa is as follows-
    • Seka- Triphala, Lodhra and Yashtimadhu are ground in cool water and are used.
    • Prelepa- Paste of Yashtimadhu, Musta, Lodra grind in Shathadautha Ghrit is mixed and applied around the eyes.
    • Aashcyotan- Putting off eyedrops with the following- Dugdha and Ghrit, Bhumyamalaki Swarasa.
    • Anjana- Shriparni, Padhala, Arjuna, Dhathaki, Amalaki, Bila which is ground with Madhu and Ikshu Rasa is used for Anjana.

Herbs Useful In Conjunctivitis

  • Fennel- Fennel is a natural source of Vitamin A which is an essential vitamin for the eyes. The seeds of Fennel are used for Glaucoma, the fibre and the essential oil present in Fennel seeds are helpful in removing toxins and are helpful in blood purification. The seeds of Fennel are known as Netra Jyoti, which has various antioxidants and minerals which encourage healthy eyesight and prevent the development of cataracts. Act as a laxative which is helpful in constipation and other gastrointestinal maladies.
  • Amalaki- Amalaki is known as Superfruit which is a rich source of Vitamin C and is yellow-green in colour. Has a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins which has many health benefits and reduces blood sugar spikes. Rich in fibre which regulates bowel movements and has a rich source of Vitamin A which improves eye health and lowers the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Bilberry- Bilberry is helpful in improving vision and is a good source of antioxidants. It contains flavonoids which are useful in improving the circulation of eyes. Reduces the risk of macular degeneration, improves eyesight. It Protects the eyes from rapid aging and is useful in weak eyes and in eye strains.
  • Ashwagandha- Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng) has many adaptogenic properties which is helpful in improving eye health and cognitive functions. It is rich in various antioxidants as it protects the eyes from various damage which is caused by free radicals. Helpful in reducing the inflammation in the eyes and reduces the risk of age related eye disorders.
  • Saffron- Saffron (Crocus sativus) is useful in various disorders of the eyes. Has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are helpful in various eye diseases. Regulates the performance of eyes and  has strong protective effects on retinal cells which restores the functions and structure of damaged retinal cells.

Tips For Conjunctivitis

  • Use Pure Herbal Jasnoor Eye Drops
  • Cleanse your eyes with Lukewarm Water
  • Use clean Cotton to clean your eyes
  • Avoid using watching screens
  • Avoid touching eyes with bare hands
  • Don’t share your towels and handkerchiefs with a patient
  • Wear black goggles to avoid direct contact with other patients

Conclusion

The eye is a complex optical system, which collects the light from the surrounding and regulates the density of light and the lenses get focused and form an image. Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) is the inflammation of the membrane which lines the eyeball and eyelids. This membrane is known as Conjunctiva, where the blood vessels get swollen and become irritated and more visible. Conjunctivitis is known as Netrabhishanda and Abhisyandain which affects all the parts of the eyes. Abhisyanda is derived from two words Abhi (profuse) and Syandana (discharge). Then we discussed various herbs which are helpful in conjunctivitis along with tips which are helpful in eye flu.

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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

MD (ALT. MEDICINE)

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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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