Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)
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Introduction

 

Conjunctivitis, which is also commonly called as the pink-eye, is so common all over the world that most people have suffered from it at one time or the other. Everyone is very familiar with the watery burning sensation in the eyes it causes, when it is difficult to keep the eyes open for a longer period of time.

The problem why conjunctivitis is so common is that people often tend to ignore their eyes when they are healthy. One might wash the hands, the feet and the face regularly, but mostly no one bothers to give a proper washing treatment to the eyes. This is the result of getting the baneful pink-eye.

However, a proper knowledge of the symptoms and treatment methods of the disease can help to combat with the problem quite easily. Ayurveda has extensive information on the subject, which this article attempts to explore.

Definition of Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)

 

Conjunctivitis, which is called as Netra Abhishyandam in Sanskrit, is defined as an inflammation of the eye. In particular, it is an inflammation of the outer transparent protecting of the eye called as conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis is the term applied to either the symptom of the condition, or to the condition itself.

Under normal situations, conjunctivitis is a problem that solves itself within a couple of days. However, if it gets prolonged beyond that, then it may need medication of doctoral attention.

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Types of Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)

There are three main types of conjunctivitis that are commonly seen in people. These are given below:-

(i) Viral Conjunctivitis – The adenovirus causes viral conjunctivitis, which has symptoms very much like those of common cold. In fact, viral conjunctivitis can be brought on by a bout of common cold. Long time sufferers of influenza and pneumonia can develop this condition due to infection. Viral conjunctivitis is highly infectious and contagious and the person suffering must take drastic measures so that the disease does not spread.

(ii) Bacterial Conjunctivitis – This type of conjunctivitis is caused due to pyogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus. The mode of transmission is generally through the skin of the person, which can be infected by contaminated substances in the air. Bacterial conjunctivitis is seen to a larger extent in children.

(iii) Allergic Conjunctivitis – Several people develop conjunctivitis because they are allergic to some substance or the other. Common allergies could be perfumes, contaminated contact lenses, drugs and eye makeup. Allergic conjunctivitis almost always affects both the eyes.

Besides these popular types of conjunctivitis, there are some more types which are not so common. These are:-

(iv) Xerophthalmia – This is a condition that is prevalent in countries which have malnutrition as a serious issue. Xerophthalmia is caused due to vitamin A deficiency and it is seen more in male children. This condition is also known as dry eye.

(v) Chemical Conjunctivitis – Some forms of conjunctivitis are caused due to the excessive handling of certain types of chemicals. Chlorine and hydrogen chloride fumes are the leading causes of chemical conjunctivitis. Castor oil contains a natural toxin, ricin, which causes conjunctivitis.

(vi) Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis – Giant papillary conjunctivitis is a type of conjunctivitis that affects both the eyes at once. It is caused generally due to infection from contact lenses. This type of conjunctivitis is characterized by itchiness, heavy and sticky discharge, etc. The most telltale symptom of this type of conjunctivitis is the presence of red colored bumps on the underside of the eyelid.

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Causes of Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)

Conjunctivitis is a very common ailment, because there are several causes that can bring about this condition. Most of the causes are already mentioned in the types. The following is a systematic list of the causes of conjunctivitis.

(i) Infections from the adenovirus can cause viral conjunctivitis. This virus is very commonly found in air. Hence, the transmission of this kind of conjunctivitis can be done through air vectors. These microorganisms are found in the surroundings of the person suffering from conjunctivitis.

(ii) People who have common cold are more susceptible of contracting conjunctivitis. Common cold symptoms can precipitate the onset of netra abhishyandam.

(ii) Both bacteria Staphylococcus and Streptococcus can cause the bacterial conjunctivitis mentioned below. Such bacteria are spread faster through physical contact than through air.

(iii) Several allergens can cause conjunctivitis. The common allergenic substances causing conjunctivitis are eye cosmetics, facial powders, mascaras, perfumes, contact lenses, spectacles and some drugs.

(iv) Strong chemicals are known to cause conjunctivitis. The leading culprits are chlorine gas and hydrogen chloride fumes.

(v) Some natural chemicals can bring about conjunctivitis. One known natural factor is ricin, found in the oil of castor seeds.

(vi) Injuries in industries with certain chemicals can cause conjunctivitis.

(vii) Some strong soaps and shampoos are known to cause pinkeye.

(viii) If some foreign object enters the eye, such as a dust or smoke particle, then there is a chance that it could infect the eye with conjunctivitis.

According to Ayurvedic principles, all infections of viruses, bacteria and allergens occur due to the pitta dosha in the body. Hence, vitiation in the pitta dosha can be held responsible for most onsets of conjunctivitis.

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Symptoms of Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)

The following are the common symptoms of conjunctivitis:-

  • Redness of the eye, accompanied by itchiness. There is a sensation as if there is a strong soap solution in the eye.
  • Extreme sensitivity to light. It is painful to keep the eye open for a long time. Vision may be blurred or teary.
  • Discharge from the eyes. The discharge is continuous and is observed as a solid crust in the corners of the eyes every morning.

However, different types of conjunctivitis have their unique symptoms. The following table clearly elucidates these symptoms:-

Type of Conjunctivitis

Symptoms

Viral Conjunctivitis

  • All symptoms of common cold are observed
  • Persistent sore throat and coughing
  • Watery discharge from the eyes
  • Itchy sensation in one or both the eyes
  • Infections of the respiratory tract

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

  • Sticky discharge from the eyes which may be yellow or green
  • Eyelids may stick together every morning
  • A gritty or sandy feeling in the eye

Allergic Conjunctivitis

  • Severely itchy
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • There may be no redness in the eye
  • Lot of sneezing and runniness of the nose

Xerophthalmia

  • No tears are formed. Hence the eyes remain dry and get irritated easily
  • Eyes are sensitive to light

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Complications due to Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)

Conjunctivitis does not cause any health complications if it is treated on time. Generally, the pinkness of the eye subsides in a couple of days and the person can resume work. In most cases, conjunctivitis can be treated without any medication. It is the few days of irritated eye symptoms that make conjunctivitis unbearable. That is why, persons must not indulge in heavy visual activities like watching movies or working on the computer. This could lead to permanent damaging of the eyes.

But apart from health issues, there are other complications with conjunctivitis. People with conjunctivitis must be kept isolated; otherwise they could spread the disease. They should also not attempt to drive at all as their hazy vision could lead to accidents.

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Transmission of Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)

The problem of conjunctivitis is compounded by the fact that it is so highly infectious as well as contagious. The transmission of conjunctivitis could be due to any of the two major causative types of microorganisms, i.e. virus or bacteria, or due to environmental factors like the air, skin infection, cosmetics, etc.

When a person contracts conjunctivitis, it is very important that the person be kept away from others. Conjunctivitis spreads very fast, especially among children. It is very important not to allow children with conjunctivitis in schools, or there could be the onset of an epidemic.

Conjunctivitis is sometimes also caused in newborn babies due to infections within the mother’s womb or other regions. Such conjunctivitis is quite normal and can be treated quite easily with some eye drops which the maternity doctor prescribes.

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Prevention of Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)

Some very simple steps ensure to keep free from conjunctivitis are as follows:-

  • Personal hygiene is of ultimate importance. This includes washing the body regularly, especially after returning from outdoors.
  • Clothes must be changed after each outing, and everyday a washed pair of clothes must be worn.
  • Be wary of moving around much in crowded public places.
  • Articles such as towels, combs, pillow covers and soaps must not be shared. Also, clothing items must be washed after each use.

Conjunctivitis must be prevented as soon as possible, or it can turn into an epidemic. If a person has conjunctivitis, then the following preventions must be undertaken:-

  • Do not rub your eyes. If only one eye is affected, then rubbing will cause the discharge to go into the other eye and that too will get affected.
  • Do not use your hands to wipe the eyes. This can be spread onto others. In order to ease the pain, you can use a cold compress.
  • Do not wear spectacles or contact lenses while affected. Alternatively, you can change your eye wear once treated.
  • Do not use any cosmetics on the eye or the nearby regions.
  • Do not allow your clothes or beddings to mix with those of other people.

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Diet during Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)

The dietary regimen that a person with netra abhishyam must follow is as follows:-

(i) Hot, spicy and oily foods must be avoided as they can produce more inflammation in the eyes.

(ii) There should be more cooling foods such as fruits and green leafy vegetables. The juice of the amla (Indian gooseberry) allays the pain that comes on with conjunctivitis.

(iii) Turmeric is very beneficial in conjunctivitis. It can also be taken as an eye ointment with honey.

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Ayurvedic Treatment for Conjunctivitis (Netra Abhishyandam)

Netra Abhishyandam takes its natural course for healing. However, the following Ayurvedic herbs are useful in reducing the painful symptoms.

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action on the Human Body

Chandi

Ervetamia coronaria

East Indian Rosebay

The juice of the milk of the chandi tree provides a soothing effect on the eye and reduces inflammation.

Chirchita

Achyranthes aspera

Rough Chaff

A paste of the roots of the rough chaff applied on the eyes reduces the pain and inflammation of conjunctivitis.

Hara Dhania

Coriandrum sativum

Coriander

If eyes are washed with a freshly prepared extract of coriander in water, it relieves the burning of the eyes and reduces pain and swelling.

Kikar

Acacia arabica

Babul

Babul leaves must be squashed into a paste and applied with a bandage onto the affected eye at night. This is a good method to remove painfulness and swelling of the eyes.

Neem

Azadirachtha indica

Margosa

Neem leaves are rubbed into a paste, then mixed with water and applied externally onto the eyes. This is useful in reducing the pain during conjunctivitis.

Prajmoda

Petrosilenum crispum

Parsley

The juice of raw parsley is beneficial for conjunctivitis when externally applied on the eye. This juice can be mixed with carrot juice for better results.

Rasaut

Berberris aristata

Indian Barberry

A paste of the rasaut is mixed with butter and alum and applied on the eyelids. This helps in reducing the painful symptoms of conjunctivitis.

Tarwar

Cassia auriculata

Tenner’s Cassia

Finely powdered seeds of Tenner’s Cassia can be used as a dusting powder over the eyes in people with conjunctivitis.

Tulsi

Ocimum sanctum

Sacred Basil

The juice of the tulsi plant is very effective in reducing the inflammation of conjunctivitis. A gargle with water mixed with tulsi leaves is also effective in reducing sore throats brought on by conjunctivitis.

Zergul

Calendula officinalis

Marigold

Marigold can be used as eyewash in the form of a cold infusion of the in water. Also marigold flowers are used to make a effective hand-wash in people with conjunctivitis to reduce further infections.

Apart from the above herbs, the following Ayurvedic preparations have good benefits during conjunctivitis:-

  • Triphala lotion, to be used as eyewash
  • Triphala choorna , to be taken orally
  • Chandrodaya vati , to desensitize a person to allergies

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Comments

Cool story bro!!!:-O
#1 - Seniorita - 02/21/2013 - 09:19
is there an ayurvedic preparation that i can buy online for bacterial conjunctivitis?
#2 - prabha - 07/25/2017 - 06:19
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