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?
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?
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?
Like all other allergies, eye allergies also starts when the immune system identifies an otherwise harmless substance as an allergen
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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