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If your eyes suddenly look reddish and feel extremely itchy, you may be suffering from allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is triggered by exposure to allergens like pollen or mold spores. An allergy to eye drops or contact lens solution can also trigger this condition. Allergic conjunctivitis is a very common health condition and more common during the hay fever season.
There are two types of allergic conjunctivitis; acute allergic conjunctivitis and chronic allergic conjunctivitis. Acute allergic conjunctivitis is characterized by the swelling of eyelids and intense itchiness and burning. Amongst the two, this is a more common condition. Chronic allergic conjunctivitis can occur during any season and has symptoms that come and go. It is a milder response to allergens such as dust, food, pollen, chemical scents etc.
On presenting the symptoms of conjunctivitis to a doctor, he may ask for an allergy skin test, a blood test or a scraping of the conjunctival tissue to understand the type of conjunctivitis you are suffering from. Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with a combination of medication and home care.
Antihistamines are the most common form of treatment for this disease. This can reduce and block the release of histamines in the body. Artificial eye drops may also be used to create a screen over the eye and prevent the eye from coming in contact with the allergen. Eye drops may also be used to shrink swollen blood vessels in the eye. Steroid eye drops may also be used along with anti inflammatory eye drops.
Home care to treat allergic conjunctivitis focuses on preventing the trigger. Today, apps on your phone can update you n the pollen levels in the air. Close your windows every time you notice a higher than normal pollen count and keep your home as dust free as possible. You could also use an air purifier in your home. Also, avoid exposure to strong chemicals, dyes, perfumes etc.
To avoid the condition from worsening, avoid rubbing your eyes and wash your hands every time you touch your eyes. Disinfect your towels, sheets and pillowcases that come in contact with your eyes every few days with hot water. Wash eyes with cold water twice daily especially after coming home from outside. Do not share your make up or brushes with other people. This is a healthy habit to follow even when you are not suffering from this condition. While you suffer from pink eye you should also not wear contact lenses. Once the eye has healed, discard the old lenses and replace them with a new pair. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ophthalmologist.
The skin around the eyes is usually one of the first areas to show signs of aging. There are four noticeable changes that occur around our eyes as we get older. These are:
- Sagging upper eyelids
- Eye bags
- Scleral show
There are many causes for these conditions and they affect each person differently. While some people show signs of aging early, others continue to look youthful for longer.
Let's take a look at four common causes for our eyes to show signs of aging:
- Loss of fat and bone tissue: As we age, the fat in our facial muscles begins to clump up and shifts downwards. As this happens skin begins to sag. The loss of fat is also accompanied by a loss in bone tissue. This makes the skin under the eyes sag further as they lose their underlying support. A loss of fat and bone tissue also leads to hollow surfaces on the skin which results in dark circles.
- Loss of collagen: Collagen is a protein that gives the skin its strength and structure. It is also important in the production of new skin cells. Collagen production is affected by a number of factors such as exposure to UV radiation, smoking and high sugar intake. While these are controllable factors, one uncontrollable factor that affects the production of collagen is aging. As the number of candles on our birthday cakes increases, the production of collagen reduces. With the loss of collagen, skin becomes thinner and veins become more visible. This also results in a thinner epidermis that makes fine lines appear and causes wrinkles around the eyes.
- Loss of elasticity: Along with collagen the other protein responsible for the firmness of skin is elastin. Elastin helps the skin return to its original state after being stretched or pinched. As we grow older, the production of elastin is also reduced. This loss of elasticity is visible around the eyes as skin begins to droop. The eyelid muscles are also one of the most used muscles in our body. We use them unconsciously every time we open and close our eyes, squint, wink etc. As the amount of elastin is reduced the eyelid skin no longer returns to its normal state every time it is used. Thus it triggers the appearance of wrinkled skin around the eyes.
- Weak muscles: Muscles also grow weaker as we get older. This causes the fat sacks to protrude through the skin leading to bags under the eyes and puffiness. A weak levator muscle responsible for lifting the upper eyelids can also cause the eyelid to appear droopy. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a cosmetic-plastic-surgeon.