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?
The diagnosis is done by an allergist or immunologist who performs a physical examination and asks for medical history. The specialist will look for symptoms which are:
• Watery eyes
• Sensitivity to light
• Eyelid swelling
HOW IS EYE ALLERGY TREATED?
Treatment of eye allergy depends on the cause of allergy. If pollen or dust causes allergy, then exposure to these allergens must be avoided. Maintaining hygiene is always a must for preventing and treating eye allergy. In some cases tear substitutes and decongestants may be required. Antihistamine eye drops are recommended for bringing down the inflammation
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. He reasons for these symptoms include:
• Indoor allergens like dust mites and stray fur from pets.
• Outdoor allergens like pollen from flowers, weeds, grass or certain types of trees.
Eye allergies usually develop when an allergen comes into contact with the conjunctiva of the eyes. Often, the symptoms of eye allergies resemble those of 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. It may occur in spring, summer or autumn, depending upon the kind of pollen in the air. The symptoms include redness, itching, burning of the eye, watery discharge and a runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion as in the case of hay fever or nose allergies. Chronic dark circles are usually formed under the eyes of SAC patients.
Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis (PAC) may occur all around the year.
• Vernal keratoconjunctivitis: More severe than SAC and PAC, vernal keratoconjunctivitis generally affects young men and boys afflicted with eczema or asthma. It causes itching, production of great quantity of tears and mucus and photophobia. If left untreated, it may lead to blindness.
• Atopic keratoconjunctivitis: With symptoms similar to vernal conjunctivitis, it usually affects old men who have a history of dermatological allergies. Unless treated on time, it may cause scarring of the cornea and its membrane.
• Contact allergic conjunctivitis: It develops because of irritation caused by wearing of contact lenses or the proteins from the tears that bind to the lens surface. It shows the symptoms of usual 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. The formation of individual fluid sacs in the upper lining of the inner eyelid causes puffiness, redness, foreign body sensation, swelling of the eyelids, blurring of vision, mucous discharge and low tolerance for contact lens.
Eye allergies can be prevented on the observance of these steps:
• Close your windows and doors to shut the pollen out.
• Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to prevent an irritant from coming into contact with your eyes.
• Wash your hands properly after handling pets.
• Wear gloves to dust your beds and linen to make them mite free.
Eye allergies can be treated with OTC products like decongestants, oral histamines and tear substitutes. Glaucoma patients however cannot take decongestants. It should also not be used for more than 2/3 days at a stretch by anyone. Oral antihistamines also tend to complicate the eye allergy.
Allergists may prescribe the following drugs depending upon the nature of the allergy:
• Non-sedating oral antihistamines.
• Eye drops (antihistamine, decongestant mast cell stabilizer, NSAID, corticosteroid).
Though eye allergies in children may be treated with a combination of prescription drugs and OTC medicines, seeking medical help is more preferable than erratic medication.
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