Conjunctivitis

About the Disorder

The conjunctiva is a subtle, transparent mucosa covering the front surface of the eyeball as well as the inner part of the eyelids. Its function is to protect the eye. Considering that this particular anatomical district is constantly in contact with the outer world, it is clearly vulnerable to aggressions of different kinds (bacterial, viral, weather-related, foreign bodies, etc.), and at times its “natural weapons” turn out to be insufficient for the purpose.

Conjunctivitis can therefore appear: one of the most common and well-known eye pathologies. The inflammatory state affecting the conjunctiva is the most striking sign signalling the disorder, i.e. a widespread redness of the eye due to the dilation of the conjunctival blood vessels (hyperemia), that in the worst cases can evolve into blood loss (subconjunctival haemorrhage)

 Other quite common symptoms concurrently appearing: oedema, lacrimation, serous or mucous discharge, photophobia and itching; there is nor real pain but rather a feeling of uneasiness and as if a foreign body were present. According to how extended the hyperemia and nature of symptoms are, it is possible to determine the etiology of different forms of conjunctivitis. In fact, this disorder can be triggered by several causes and can thus present different symptoms: ranging from microbial agents (bacteria, viruses and fungi), to physical and chemical agents (smoke, wind, vapous or chemical substances, environmental pollutants, exposure to intense natural or artificial light), to the presence of a foreign body in the eye (contact lenses); conjunctivitis can further be connected to allergic reactions to dust, pollen, animal fur, etc. (in such case see allergic conjunctivitis). Systemic infections, whether bacterial and viral (from the simple cold to haemorrhagic pathologies such as measles) can cause conjunctivitis, as well.

Conjunctivitis of bacterial origin  

Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophylus influenzae are common and frequent causes of bacterial conjunctivitis. This affects both eyes and is generally characterized by abundant, purulent yellow or greenish discharges, which are more evident in the morning (“sticky eyelids” when waking up), accompanied by eye-irritation and the feeling of “sand in the eyes”, intense reddening and limited swelling; itching and lacrimation are less frequent.

 Conjunctivitis from Gonococci is a particularly serious disorder, which can arise following direct sexual contact, causing a remarkable palpebral oedema and abundant purulent discharge; it usually affects one eye only.

Among bacterial forms of conjunctivitis is the one caused by Chlamydia trachomatis: typically to be found in newborn babies, following infection taking place in the birth canal; in adults it occurs after exposure to infected genital secretions, with an acute onset and later tending to chronicize; besides reddening, other symptoms are a mucopurulent discharge and the formation of lymph follicles protruding from the conjunctiva itself; at times opacity can occur, as well.

Conjunctivitis of viral origin

Conjunctivitis of viral origin, typically casued by Adenovirus, is generally highly contagious, with acute onset and presenting typical symptoms of conjunctival vasodilation: little purulent, watery secretions, irritation and abundant lacrimation; there can also be intolerance to light and burning, whereas palpebral swelling is limited and there is no itching. Usually affecting one eye only, it however often evolves becoming bilateral. Besides the conjunctivtal epithelium, viruses often also attack the corneal epithelium, causing lesions and keratitis of varying levels. Other potential, infecting agents are Herpes simplex and Herpes zoster.

Conjunctivitis of fungal origin

Conjunctivitis caused by fungi are rarer and mostly asymptomatic, showing none of the typical signs of inflammatory conditions. Different species can be responsible for this specific type of disorder, which can cause a degeneration of the conjunctiva’s epithelial cells, with possible lesions that are isolated from both the conjunctiva and the eyeball. Besides conjunctivitis, fungal infection can lead to the formation of granuloma.

Conjunctivitis of irritative origin

Inflammation of the conjunctiva, caused by irritant agents of different chemical or physical origin, such as smoke, environmental pollutants, cleaning agents, detergents, UV radiation, heat, etc., manifests itself with different symptoms according to the agent responsible. In such cases there is more or less intense conjunctival vasodilation, aqueous or mucosal secretion (or none at all); according to the specific case there can also be itching, irritation, lacrimation, dryness, photophobia, burning and foreign body feeling in the eye.

Finally, Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis is caused the the presence of a foreign body in the eye and usually affects both eyes; it typically affects contact lens wearers, causing intolerance; symptoms are itching, a heavy, purulent secretion and lacrimation.

Treatment of conjunctivitis with conventional medicine   

Regardless of the type of conjunctivitis, whether of bacterial, viral, fungal or irritative origin, traditional medicine resorts to (and abuses of) eyewashes and antibiotic, or cortisone-based ointments, or else an association of both. The use of antibiotics, often chosen as an option without actually knowing about the real cause of the conjunctivitis, frequently leads to sensitization, besides originating problems of resistance.

Abuse of cortisone-based eyewashes, which are strong immunosuppressants, further weakens the eye’s natural defenses, exposing it to the risk of infections – particularly of the viral type. Over-the-counter, decongestant eyewashes, often turn out to be ineffective. This is why it is important to have valid alternatives available for the treatment of conjunctivitis, whatever their origin or the nature of the symptoms.

Nature can help you solve the problem of conjunctivitis

Our Approach

A natural and effective approach

Should conjunctivitis be of microbial origin, or connected to irritative factors of chemical-physical nature, such as smoke, environmental pollutants, cleansing agents, etc., nature can once more be of great help, associating the traditionally used plant extracts with anti-inflammatory and decongestant  properties to the extraordinary, broadspectrum antimicrobial properties of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE), thereby ensuring effective action against any type of conjunctivitis.

GSE and conjunctivitis: efficacy of Grapefruit Seed Extract as a broad spectrum antimicrobial has been proven by Laboratories and Institutes worldwide. In fact, Grapefruit Seed Extract is active against over 800 bacterial strains (both Gram+ and Gram-), as well as viruses and over 100 strains of yeasts and moulds. Numerous testimonies confirm its validity and in terms of both efficacy and speed of action it remains unrivalled in nature.   In this specific case, as for microorganisms most frequently responsible for attacking the conjunctiva, countless publications prove that GSE is active against bacterial species such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophylus influenzae, which are the most common and frequent causes of bacterial conjunctivitis, as well as against Chlamydia trachomatis, causing neonatal conjunctivitis.

Results obtained on the efficacy of GSE against viral strains are also very encouraging: in particular, GSE is capable of inactivating Herpes simplex 1 virus after exposure of 10 minutes at a dilution of 1:256, as proven by studies conducted by Dr Shannon at the Department of Microbiology and Virology at the Southern Research Institute.

 GSE therefore represents an extremely valid remedy against conjunctivitis of microbial origin. Its use is absolutely safe, also in the absence of a certain diagnosis, because its broad spectrum action is accompanied by the rare quality of its selectivity: in fact, GSE is active against pathogens, while it does not significantly affect microbial flora of the mucosae, hence preserving the eye’s natural defenses. Moreover, use of GSE does not generate bacterial resistance.

Due to the above-mentioned considerations, GSE therefore represents the cornerstone of an extraordinarily effective approach towards conjunctivitis, whatever its origin. The association of specific plant extracts with marked decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties, in a solution for ophthalmic use, enables to:

act directly at eye level with a solution in eye drops, which is both broad spectrum antimicrobial and at the same time anti-inflammatory and soothing, so as to counter the infectious or inflammatory process regardless of the triggering cause.

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract: as already highlighted, results obtained regarding efficacy of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) towards over 800 bacterial strains, numerous viruses as well as over 100 strains of yeasts, including species frequently responsible for microbial conjunctivitis,  confirm GSE as the ideal remedy for this specific eye disorder. Its synergy with specific plant extracts, with decongestant and soothing properties, makes the formulations effective and safe to use in any type of conjunctivitis – whether of irritative or inflammatory type.

Euphrasia (distilled water): belonging to the family of Scrophulariaceae, the most significant constituents of its phytocomplex are iridoid glucosides (aucubin in particular), conferring marked ophthalmic astringent properties. Such action, together with the anti-inflammatory properties, make it ideal for ophthalmic affections of various kinds (conjunctivitis, burning eyes, lacrimation, photophobia, etc.)

 Chamomile (distilled water): it belongs to the family of Asteraceae. Its flowers, rich in active constituents such as chamazulene, α-bisabolol, apigenin, luteolin,   have decongestant, soothing, calming and anti-inflammatory properties (numerous studies have highlighted that such activity is linked to its ability to inhibit the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes).

Calendula (distilled water): belonging to the family of Asteraceae, it is rich in triterpene derivatives, mainly responsible for its marked anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties. Other constituents are carotenoids, numerous resins, flavonoids, polysaccharides and mucilages, markedly bioadhesive on the skin and mucosae and contributing for this reason to the plant’s health properties. The most significant actions carried out are: anti-inflammatory, anti-reddening, immunomodulating, antimicrobial, cicatrizing, analgesic, lenitive and decongestant.

Hydroxyethyl cellulose: this is a polymer with mucous-like characteristics, capable of stabilising tear film on the eye surface, creating a protective, transparent and viscoelastic shield.

The ideal means for application on the eye of such ingredients is a solution in eye drops.

Whenever necessary, particularly when the conjunctivitis is of microbial origin, oral integration of specific plant constituents is recommended for:

Systemic action so as to counter microbial infection while supporting the organism’s defenses.

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract: results obtained regarding the efficacy of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) over 800 bacterial strains, numerous viruses and over 100 strains of yeasts,  including species most commonly involved in the development of microbial conjunctivitis, confirms the usefulness of GSE not only for local but also for systemic use, so as to directly counter ongoing infections as well as to improve general efficiency of the organism’s defensive system against any kind of microbial attack.

In fact, as highlighted in a study published in the “Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine” n° 5 of 1990, GSE acts as an extraordinary “selective cleanser”:  effective on pathogens while not having a significant impact on microbial flora of the mucosae; instead, it enables reconstruction of beneficial flora, representing the first line of defense of our organism towards any external aggression, thereby ensuring protection from infections.

Echinacea purpurea: this plant belongs to the Asteraceae family, native to the central regions of the US. It is capable of slowing down the spread of pathogenic germs, triggering a defensive mechanism against germs, while activating the regenerative function of tissues.

For this reason, preparations with Echinacea are considered effective in the treatment of septic states and in infective pathologies in general.

Rhodiola: a plant typically belonging to cold climates in the Northern Hemisphere, it can heighten the organism’s resistance to toxins, it increases the level of enzymes, of RNA and proteins and is therefore capable of reducing recovery time following fatigue and prolonged diseases;

Uncaria: native to South America, the bark is used for its powerful efficacy in regulating the immune system. Its use enhances the organism’s resistance to infections and improves its response in case of illness.

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia): an Australian plant with amply demonstrated antiviral properties, it is also effective against bacteria and fungi, as well as being a powerful stimulant of the immune system.

The ideal form of intake of such plant ingredients is represented by swallowable tablets. For children, the drinkable version is to be preferred.

 The association of the above-described ingredients, essential to offer a definitive solution in the case of conjunctivitis of various nature and origin, can be further supported by:

– Synergistic action aimed at an effective solution of eye affections:   mask-shaped eye compresses in non-woven fabric, soaked in a solution based on GSE and extracts of Calendula, Nymphaea, Elderberry and Altea.

-A rebalancing action of the intestinal flora and simultaneous reinforcement of the organism’s natural defences: for adults, single use vials with measuring cap based on probiotics (B. bifidum, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus), fructo-oligosaccharides, GSE, Uncaria and Morinda citrifolia (Noni); for children, single use vials with patented cap, based on probiotics (B. infantis, B. longum, L. Rhamnosus), fructo-oligosaccharides, GSE, Astragalus and Uncaria tomentosa.