Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, is a troublesome condition, but Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture can speed recovery and alleviate symptoms.
Causes and Symptoms of Pink Eye
The cause of pink eye is usually due to bacteria, a virus, an allergic reaction, or in the case of pediatrics, problems with the formation of the tear ducts.
Pink eye causes reddening and irritation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane that coats the eye. Inflammation of the small blood vessels can cause all sorts of odd feelings such as the sensation of wind blowing into the eyes, the feeling that there is a foreign object lodged, or that the eyes feel like they are made of sandpaper. This discomfort leads to tearing, itchiness or a discharge from the eyes that makes them crusty looking.
Dealing with Pink Eye at Home
Since bacterial and viral infections are highly contagious, precautions must be taken to not spread the condition. This means staying at home until the infection passes which could be anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks.
Other precautions include frequent hand washing, throwing away any contaminated make-up, changing pillowcases and towels every day and refraining from wearing contact lenses. Applying warm or cool compresses to the eyes can help soothe pain. A cotton cloth soaked in water is the simplest and safest formula for at-home use.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Pink Eye
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can speed up the recovery process and alleviate symptoms of pink eye. Upon visual inspection of the affected eye, it will be immediately apparent that there is a Heat condition present. The treatment principle will therefore entail removing excess Heat from the eyes. However, there may also be an internal condition that requires treatment as well.
When Lung Qi is deficient, the body has difficulty fighting off foreign invaders such as harmful bacteria and viruses. Qi is loosely described as the energy which animates and heals all living creatures. A patient with conjunctivitis may receive a diagnosis of deficient Lung Qi with a concurrent invasion of Wind-Heat. Wind-Heat is a very accurate description of what many patients feel when they have pink eye--a literal sensation of wind rushing into and irritating the eye.
Acupuncture treatments will focus on releasing excess heat from the eye area and bolstering the immune system. A patient can expect an acupuncture needle to be placed on the face. One excellent choice is a point called Yu Yao. It is located directly above the pupil, in the middle of the eyebrow. Due to its close proximity to the eyes, it is able to efficiently drive out excess Heat from the area. As the Heat leaves, symptoms such as redness, itchiness and pain should subside.
Dietary Tips for Pink Eye
Your practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine may make some dietary recommendations to help bulk up your immune system as well. In general cooked food is easier on the digestive system. Lightly steamed greens are preferable to a bowl of raw salad. Although a small sprinkling of uncooked scallion on top of hot food is acceptable. Warm soups and broths make great choices as the stomach and spleen can easily absorb the nutrients from them. Staying away from cold foods like ice cream and avoiding iced-drinks is necessary as they can be harmful for the digestive system.
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About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.