What is allergic conjunctivitis?
Allergic conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the eyes because of an allergy – an allergy particularly due to pollen and mold spores. Conjunctiva is a membrane that covers the eyeball, it is sensitive to allergens that irritate. Allergic eyes are quite common, it’s the reaction of your body to harmful foreign elements. However allergic conjunctivitis can be easily prevented and treated with few precautionary steps.
There are several types of Allergic conjunctivitis i.e.-
- Acute allergic conjunctivitis – It spreads during allergy season only i.e. monsoon. It is infectious and spreads through direct contact. There can be a burning and itching sensation in the eyes and sometimes the eyes can swell also. A watery nose is also one of the symptoms.
- Chronic allergic conjunctivitis – Chronic or persistent allergy can occur at any time. It occurs due to dust, animal dander, or other allergens. In addition to itching and burning, light sensitivity is also experienced during the allergy period.
- Contact conjunctivitis – This occurs due to chemically induced cosmetics and eye drops which irritate the conjunctiva. Symptoms are observed after 3-4 days.
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis – It mainly occurs due to wearing contact lenses for long hours. It causes eye discomfort and increased redness. It can also happen if a person wears hard contact lenses after eye surgery.
What causes Allergic eyes?
When your body tries to protect you against harmful foreign elements, it releases the histamine chemical. Following are some substances that cause the release of this chemical into your body:
- Trees pollen
- Mold spores
- Chemical scents
- Animal dander
- Particular medication can also cause allergic eyes
- Contact lens solution or eye drop
What are the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis?
When eyes become allergic to foreign elements, their symptoms are recognized early. In case of an allergic reaction due to an eye drop, its symptoms take 2-3 days to appear. Here are some symptoms-
- Burning and itching sensation, mild sensation can be avoided.
- Irritation in the eyes increases because either capillaries or small blood vessels widen in Conjunctiva.
- Light sensitivity and pain in the eyes
- Puffy or swollen eyes due to aggressive rubbing and inflammation of the Conjunctiva
- Watery eyes
If a person is experiencing red, cracked, and dry eyes, these symptoms are contact conjunctivitis. Contact and giant papillary conjunctivitis can occur any time of the year.
How to treat Allergic eyes?
Of course, you might have heard, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ So here are some basic tips to prevent allergic conjunctivitis-
- Regularly maintain personal hygiene.
- Avoid frequently touching your eyes.
- Rinse eyes with cold water.
- If you have come in contact with a person who is suffering from conjunctivitis, then apply cold compression to your eyes.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses during the monsoon. Chances of infection increase during monsoon season.
- Never share your cosmetics.
- Avoid swimming during the monsoon.
- Avoid touching public taps.
- Wear glasses when stepping outside your house.
If home care is not enough, then you might have to take the doctor’s advice and the medications suggested-
- To reduce the release of histamine OTC antihistamine eye drops are suggested.
- Bepotastine eye drop for allergy.
- Anti-inflammatory eye drops.
- To shrink the congested blood vessels.
- Steroid eye drops.
You can visit PVRI – the best eye hospital in Hyderabad with an amazing and highly-specialized team of doctors.
How is allergic conjunctivitis diagnosed?
In case you are experiencing mild itching and burning sensation in your eyes then home care can cure it. However, if this condition is causing discomfort to your eyes then visit a doctor. The doctor can examine and review your eye history. Redness and small bumps inside the eyes are some visible signs of allergic eyes. F
- The allergy skin test is suggested to read your body’s reaction to specific allergens. It may also swelling and redness.
- Blood tests to know if the body can produce antibodies against allergens.
- The doctor can examine the conjunctival tissue to know the number of white blood cells. White blood cells get activated when you get in contact with some allergy.
Allergic conjunctivitis is a contagious disease and occurs due to exposure to allergens like dust and pollen. Allergic eyes cause redness, rubbing, and swelling of the eyes. Treatment and proper self-care can reduce the symptoms to a great extent. However, extensive use of allergic conjunctivitis medication can increase the chances of cataracts. It can also damage the cornea and distort your vision.
Stay safe and stay healthy!