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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?
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?
The first approach in managing seasonal or perennial forms of eye allergy should be to avoid the allergens that trigger the symptoms. Eye drops and medicines may be recommended for provide relief from pain and itching. Depending on what is causing your eye allergy symptoms, immunotherapy can be very effective in providing long-term resistance to the triggering allergens.
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. 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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