Eye allergies or Allergies Conjunctivitis occur when the body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to an allergen in the surrounding. When allergen comes in contact with mast cells antibodies of the eye, histamine is released resulting in eyes to become itchy, red and watery. Eye allergy symptoms include Itching, Redness, burning of the eyes coupled with clear and watery discharge.
HOW IS EYE ALLERGY DIAGNOSED?
Eye allergies are triggered by Outdoor allergens, like pollens and grass, irritants as cigarette smoke, perfume and diesel exhaust and indoor allergens as dust mites and mould. The symptoms of eye allergy range from redness to inflammation severe enough to impair vision.
HOW IS EYE ALLERGY TREATED?
Treatment for eye allergies includes antibiotic and anti-allergen drops for the eyes. You may be asked to consume some anti-allergens too. The doctor would advise you to avoid makeup and other forms of eye products if there’s a risk of allergy from same them.
DID YOU KNOW?
Eye allergies are seasonal and one can take precautionary measures to avoid triggers. This may require changes to one’s home and behaviour, like keeping windows closed during high pollen periods
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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