Eye allergy is defined as the condition where an external or even internal component triggers of a preventive reaction from the body. Allergies are often caused because of environmental pollens, wrong contact lenses or reaction to solutions. The symptoms include itchiness and redness in the eyes.
HOW IS EYE ALLERGY DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of eye allergies depends on the symptoms and the examination by the ophthalmologist. He or she may examine your eye under the microscope for observing any swollen blood vessels. A test for determining presence of a specific white blood cell confirms diagnosis. The conjunctiva is slightly scraped off for this test
HOW IS EYE ALLERGY TREATED?
Non-prescription or OTC eye drops and oral medications provide short-term relief of some symptoms of eye allergy, but a prolonged use can worsen the condition. Ophthalmologist prescribed eye drops provide both short and long-term targeted relief of eye allergy symptoms. OTC eye drops are tear substitutes that wash allergens from eye and decongestants reduce the redness by narrowing the eye blood vessels. Prescription eye drops include Antihistamine, mast cell stabilizer and Corticosteroid eye drops. Medications include allergy shots for improving an individual’s tolerance
DID YOU KNOW?
Some people can inherit eye allergies from their parents. One is more likely to have allergies if both parents have them than if only one does.
Eye or ocular allergy is characterized by red, itchy watery and swollen eyes. Eye allergy can be caused by the following reasons:
• Indoor allergens like dust mites and stray fur from pets.
• Outdoor allergens like pollen from flowers, grass, weeds or certain types of trees.
Eye allergies usually develop when an allergen comes into contact with the conjunctiva of the eyes. They often share symptoms with some eye diseases.
Given below a few of the major kinds of allergies of the eye:
• Seasonal and perennial allergic conjunctivitis: SAC is the commonest type of eye allergy which can occur in spring, summer or autumn, depending on the kind of pollen in the air. The symptoms include redness of the eye, itching, burning and clear, watery discharge along with runniness of the nose, sneezing and nasal congestion as in nose allergies or hay fever. People with SAC can have chronic dark circles under their eyes with puffy eyelids.
Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis (PAC) occur all-round the year.
• Vernal Kerato conjunctivitis: A more severe form of eye allergy than SAC and PAC, vernal kerato conjunctivitis primarily affects young men and boys affected with asthma or eczema. It causes itching, production of great quantity of tears and mucus and photophobia. If left untreated, it can cause blindness.
• Atopic keratoconjunctivitis: It usually affects old men who have suffered from skin allergies. Its symptoms are similar to those of vernal conjunctivitis. Unless treated on time, it may cause scarring of the cornea and its membrane.
• Contact allergic conjunctivitis: It develops as a result of irritation caused by wearing of contact lenses or the proteins from the tears that bind to the lens surface. It shares the usual symptoms of eye allergy including discomfort in wearing the lens.
• Giant papillary conjunctivitis: A severe form of contact allergic conjunctivitis, giant papillary conjunctivitis is caused by the wearing of contact lens. It causes the formation of individual fluid sacs in the upper lining of the inner eyelid leading to puffiness, redness, swelling of the eyelids, foreign body sensation, mucous discharge, blurring of vision and low tolerance for contact lens.
Prevention of eye allergies is fairly simple if one follows these steps:
• Wear gloves to dust your beds and linen to make them mite free.
• Wash your hands properly after handling pets.
• Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to prevent an irritant from coming into contact with your eyes.
• Close your windows and doors to shut the pollen out.
Eye allergies can be treated with OTC products like decongestants, oral histamines and tear substitutes. Decongestants however cannot be used by individuals suffering from glaucoma or for more than two or three days at a stretch. Oral antihistamines sometimes intensify the condition of eye allergy.
Allergists usually prescribe the following drugs depending upon the nature of the allergy:
• Eye Drops (antihistamine, decongestant mast cell stabilizer, corticosteroid, NSAID).
• Nonsedating oral antihistamines.
Eye allergies in children may be treated with a combination of prescription and OTC medicines and eye drops. Though artificial tears are usually safe and can be administered at all ages, it is more advisable to seek medical help.
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