Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when eyes come into contact with an allergen (a substance that causes allergies) like smoke, dust, pollen, animal hair, feathers etc. Individuals who are more susceptible to allergies are at an increased risk of developing allergic conjunctivitis.
- Allergy is a long-term problem
- Avoid triggering factors such as dust
- Follow medication prescribed by eye doctors only
- Redness in the white of the eye and inner side of the eyelid
- Increased amount of tears
- Itching of the eyes
- Ropy discharge from the eyes
Do’s and Don’ts
- Avoid exposure to dust
- Contact lenses which are worn must be removed
- Plain glasses can be worn for protection
- Hands and eyes must be washed
- Use ice packs on eyelids to reduce itching.
- Avoid touching or rubbing the affected eyes
What causes allergic conjunctivitis?
You experience allergic conjunctivitis when your body tries to defend itself against a perceived threat. It does this in reaction to things that trigger the release of histamine. Your body produces this potent chemical to fight off foreign invaders. Some of the substances that cause this reaction are:
- household dust
- pollen from trees and grass
- mold spores
- animal dander
- chemical scents such as household detergents or perfume
Some people may also experience allergic conjunctivitis in reaction to certain medications or substances dropped into the eyes, such as contact lens solution or medicated eye drops.
In allergic conjunctivitis both eyes tend to be equally affected at the same time.
Only anti-allergic medications should be used as instructed by your eye doctor.
Steroid eye drops may be used after consulting and under the strict supervision of a registered eye doctor. Self-medication with steroids may cause an elevation in the pressure of the eye which may result in glaucoma and eventually irreparable vision loss.
Treating allergic conjunctivitis at home involves a combination of prevention strategies and activities to ease your symptoms. To minimize your exposure to allergens:
- Close windows when the pollen count is high
- Keep your home dust-free
- Use an indoor air purifier
- Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals, dyes, and perfumes
To ease your symptoms, avoid rubbing your eyes. Applying a cool compress to your eyes can also help reduce inflammation and itching.
You should see a doctor if you are uncertain what is causing your symptoms and the symptoms do not settle within a few days. Also, see a doctor urgently if any of the following occur:
- Your symptoms change (for example, the light starts to hurt your eyes).
- You have pain in the eye (mild soreness rather than pain is usual with conjunctivitis).
- Spots or blisters develop on the skin next to the eye, or on your eyelid or nose.
- Your vision is reduced.The eye becomes very red – in particular if it is on one side only.
1. Arvind eye hospital (Photo)