Eye Allergy is also known as ocular allergy or allergic conjunctivitis. Eye allergy occurs when something you are allergic to comes in contact with the eye. Symptoms are:
• Redness of eye
• Burning sensation
• Sensitivity to light
• Clear or watery discharge
HOW IS EYE ALLERGY DIAGNOSED?
An ophthalmology expert would conduct an eye test to determine the extent of the allergy. He/ she may also conduct some eye tests and examinations to rule out physical damage.
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?
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, 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, on the basis of the kind of pollen in the air. The symptoms are redness, itching, burning of the eye, watery discharge and a runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion as in hay fever or nose allergies. Chronic dark circles commonly occur under the eyes of SAC patients.
Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis (PAC) occur all around the year.
• Vernal keratoconjunctivitis: It is a more severe form of eye allergy than SAC and PAC. Vernal keratoconjunctivitis generally affects young men and boys afflicted with asthma or eczema. It causes itching, production of great quantity of tears and mucus and photophobia. If left untreated, it may lead to blindness.
• Atopic keratoconjunctivitis: It usually affects old men who have a history of dermatological 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 because of irritation caused by wearing of contact lenses or the proteins from the tears that bind to the lens surface. It manifests 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. Individual fluid sacs in the upper lining of the inner eyelid are formed 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:
• Close your windows and doors to shut the pollen out.
• Wash your hands properly after handling pets.
• Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to prevent an irritant from coming into contact with your eyes.
• 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. Decongestants however are prohibited for use by glaucoma patients and should not be used for more than 2/3 days at a stretch by anyone. Oral antihistamines similarly can worsen the eye allergy.
Allergists may prescribe the following drugs depending upon the nature of the allergy:
• Nonsedating oral antihistamines.
• Eye Drops (antihistamine, decongestant mast cell stabilizer, corticosteroid, NSAID).
A combination of prescription drugs and OTC medicines are effective in treating eye allergies in children. Seeking medical help is however a safer option than relying on the efficacy of unfamiliar drugs.
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