Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) during Pregnancy

A woman with conjunctivitis

Pink eye is known as ‘conjunctivitis’ and is a communicable disease that occurs during pregnancy. Besides causing discomfort and redness in the eyes, pink eye may be transmitted sexually or through physical contact as well. Here is what you need to know about ‘conjunctivitis’ or pink eye during pregnancy.

What is Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is a condition that affects the underside of your eyelids, including the outer member of your eye whites. There is no cause for concern usually since it is a common infection in pregnant women and does not cause any long-term vision loss or eye damage. Conjunctivitis is referred to as ‘Pink Eye’ and goes away in roughly a week’s time.

What Causes Conjunctivitis during Pregnancy?

A woman with conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis in pregnancy is linked to the following causes-

1. Bacteria

If your eyes look red with a yellow discharge and is accompanied by swelling, then it is a case of bacterial conjunctivitis.

2. Virus

Viral conjunctivitis occurs due to viruses infecting the eyes. It may affect both the eyes and is accompanied by redness and itching. There may be a slight discharge from the eyes in this case.

3. Seasonal Allergy

Seasonal allergens are common and responsible for causing conjunctivitis during pregnancy. It usually happens during spring time and you’ll notice that your eyes are red, itchy, and cause no drainage.

4. Foreign Body

If sand, dirt, dust or any foreign particles enter your eyelids, you’ll find that it causes tearing, pain, drainage, and redness.

5. Scratching

Scratching your own eye a bit too much leads to redness and tearing. Usually affects only one eye and is really painful.

6. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) transmits conjunctivitis between persons.

7. Physical Contact

Getting close to someone or even touching people infected with conjunctivitis spreads the infection to others.

8. Chlyamydial

This is a rare cause of conjunctivitis in women that is linked to the intracellular organism Chlyamydial Trachomati. The redness is deeper than other causes and follicles look raised on the lower tarsal conjunctiva.

Common Symptoms of Pink Eye

Common symptoms of a pink eye during pregnancy are-

  • Pus in the eye
  • Redness accompanied by watery or yellow discharge
  • Swelling in the eyes
  • Increased sensitivity to bright lights
  • Crusts around the eyelid
  • Eye grittiness
  • Itchiness and pain

How to Treat Conjunctivitis when Pregnant?

Treatment options for conjunctivitis during pregnancy are-

1. Topical Antibiotics

Your doctor will examine your eyes to determine the type of conjunctivitis and prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Prescription antibiotics should be recommended by the physician since some antibiotics may harm the fetus which is why you must let your doctor know that you are pregnant. This also applies if you’re trying to conceive.

2. Eyedrops

These are used for treating bacterial conjunctivitis. Not very effective against Chlamydia conjunctivitis, however and eye drops are based on doctor’s recommendations.

3. Ocular Treatment

Ocular medications are used to treat conjunctivitis during pregnancy. For more information on this, ask your doctor or physician since ocular treatments are provided on a case-by-case basis.

Natural Remedies for Pink Eye during Pregnancy

Natural remedies for pink eye during pregnancy are-

1. Warm Compress

Warm compress relieves dry eye symptoms and improves blood circulation. Reduces inflammation and is a highly effective pink eye treatment pregnancy.

2. Rose Water

You can use rose water as remedial eye drops to cleanse your eyes and eliminate any particles or irritants.

3. Matcha Green Tea

Dip some matcha green tea bags in boiling water, let them cool, and apply to the affected eye.

4. Proper Hygiene

Keep your hands clean always by practising proper hygiene. Make sure to physically clean yourself every day to prevent the spread and outbreak of this infection.

5. Honey with Black Pepper Powder

Take half-a-pinch of black pepper powder, mix it with honey and apply it to your eyes. You’ll feel a difference.

6. Homoeopathic Remedy

A homoeopathic remedy available for pregnant women is Euphrasia 30. It comes in pills and is effective when five of those pills are taken orally twice a day over a period of 10 days.

7. Breast Milk

There’s a specific type of antibody present in breast milk that prevents pink eye bacteria from latching on to your mucosal surface. It’s effective against conjunctivitis especially.

8. Colloidal Silver

Silver solutions or Colloidal Silver is used for treating eye infections during pregnancy. The ointment version is preferred by most mothers and doctors.

9. Eyebright Tea

Herbal teas like Eyebright tea is especially effective against conjunctivitis. Eyebright capsules are available for those who wish to not consume tea.

10. Rinsing with Salt Water Solution

Rinsing your eyes with salt water solution is another effective home remedy for conjunctivitis.

11. Raw Potatoes

May sound crazy but fresh raw cold potatoes are effective in soothing pain caused by conjunctivitis.

12. Cold Compress

A cold compress is effective for treating conjunctivitis. Make sure to use different washcloths for each eye to prevent the spread of infection.

13. Tulsi

Tulsi or holy basil is known for its healing properties and fights against fungal, bacterial and viral conjunctivitis. Soak the leaves in boiled water for 10 minutes and use as an eye wash or apply with clean cotton pads.

14. Aloe Vera Gel

Apply some Aloe Vera gel to your eyes and eyelids once you notice conjunctivitis for reducing inflammation.

15. Turmeric

Take two tablespoons of turmeric powder and mix it with a cup of boiling water. Apply it to your eyes using a washcloth or cotton pad.

How to Prevent Pink Eye in Pregnancy?

You can prevent pink eye in pregnancy by taking the following measures-

  • Prevent sharing eye drops, eye wipes and cosmetics with others
  • Avoid physical contact with infected persons
  • Avoid contact with people who have STIs
  • Wearing eye protective gear or glasses to prevent dust particles and dirt from entering the eyes
  • Washing hands and practising proper hygiene regularly
  • Rinse your eyes regularly and dry properly

Can Conjunctivitis Affect Pregnancy?

Non-pharmacological treatments are preferred for treating conjunctivitis since they prevent conjunctivitis pregnancy dangers. So yes, if you’re using antibiotics or prescription drugs for treatment, it may affect your pregnancy depending on what chemicals enter the foetus.

Conjunctivitis goes away naturally when given time and is normally not a cause for concern. If you notice it persisting for over a week, contact your doctor and ask for treatment recommendations.

Also Read:

Shortness of Breath during Pregnancy
Cough and Cold during Pregnancy
Acidity during Pregnancy