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Conjunctivitis

What is causing my Conjunctivitis?

Question

I am suffering from conjunctivitis, or pink eye -which sounds light-hearted but is actually a misery. The doctor says this can be caused by an infection, a virus or, in any case, an allergy. I had it first l8 months ago and took antibiotics and antihistamines. It finally went six weeks later. This current bout has not improved despite my taking the same drugs and making numerous visits to different GPs. Could you throw some light on the cause and suggest a non-drug remedy? I am fit and active. I lost one of my sons in an accident three years ago and have felt emotionally frail since then but have never taken medication.

Answer

Conjunctivitis is a condition in which the clear membrane (conjunctiva) covering the white of the eye and lining the eyelids, becomes inflamed. There are numerous very fragile blood vessels or capillaries in the membrane, which may dilate, causing pink eye, due to a variety of causes - principally bacterial or viral infection, or irritation due to smoke, pollution or ultraviolet light. Allergic conjunctivitis is usually a reaction to dust, pollen and other airborne substances and is often linked to hay fever. If this is your problem, you must turn detective and find the culprit, then avoid it as much as possible, as well as following my suggestions below.

The symptoms usually develop over several hours, often when you first wake up, and generally include redness of the white of the eye, gritty and uncomfortable sensation in the eye, swelling and itching of the eyelids, and possibly a discharge, which can be yellowish and thick or clear and watery. Sufferers may also be unable to bear bright light and need to wear dark glasses.

The capillaries in the eye can also dilate or rupture (either spontaneously or due to toxicity in the blood), which gives he eye a bloodshot look and a muddy brown colour. This is because blood contains iron, the key component of haemoglobin (which forms red blood cells). When the blood floods to the surface, the iron can get oxidised by the oxygen in the air and becomes brown ferrous (iron) oxide. Blood vessels in the eye may also constrict, usually due to high blood pressure, making them look like tiny worms or snakes. Although conjunctivitis is common, and not serious in itself you should always check with your doctor if an eye is painful and red for more than a short time. In fact, the blood vessels of the eye ball can be studied to assess the condition of the entire body.

Stress can also be a factor in conjunctivitis, and you have had a lot with your recent bereavement. I hope you find some time to look after yourself.

Here are my suggestions for helping your eyes:

  • Homoeopathic euphrasia (from homoeopathic chemists such as Ainsworths, tel: +44 (0)20 7935 5330): put one drop in the eye in the morning for ten days.
  • Organic rosewater : put one drop in the eye at bedtime for two weeks.
  • Calcium citrate capsules : take one daily for two months to help strengthen the blood vessels so that they don't rupture so easily.
  • Haldi capsules: take one daily for a month to help the inflammation.
  • Vitamin C tablets: take one 500mg tablet daily for two months, to help strengthen the blood vessels.
  • Kadu : soak three twigs in a cup of hot water at night, then strain and drink every morning for two months.
  • When your eyes are red and itchy, rub your palms until they are warm then cup them over your eyes. Repeat this five times, twice a day: the warmth helps to heal.
  • Drink fresh carrot ginger and celery juice three times a week this will act as an anti-inflammatory and also a detoxifying agent.
  • Avoid coffee, excess salt yeast products, canned foods, cheese. mushrooms, citrus or sour fruits (including orange, grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, mangoes, tomatoes, kiwi, rhubarb, olives).
  • Make sure you are not constipated, as often that can make the body feel 'toxic' and cause problems such as this. If you are sluggish, take Herbolax tablets: two at bedtime. If you suffer from constipation (only one or two bowel movements weekly), take Qurs Mullayan tablets: one at bed time. Take either of these for two months.
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