Are you suffering from an intense itching in your eyes for the last couple of days? Have your eyes got red and swollen? Allergic Conjunctivitis may be your problem. Read on to know all about Allergic Conjunctivitis, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
What Is Allergic Conjunctivitis?
Allergic Conjunctivitis is a type of Conjunctivitis characterised by inflammation of the conjunctiva or the tissue that lines the eyelids. It results from a natural reaction of the body against allergens like dander and pollen.
In Allergic Conjunctivitis one eye or even both eyes may be affected.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Types
Medical researchers divide Allergic Conjunctivitis into five subtypes. These are
- Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis
- Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis
- Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis
- Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis
Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms
Some of the major Allergic Conjunctivitis signs are
In Allergic Conjunctivitis redness is the most common symptom. The first sign of this disorder is redness of the affected eye.
There is intense itching or burning sensation in the eye affected with allergy. This affects vision and creates difficulties in properly opening the eyes.
Most affected individuals wake up from sleep with swollen eyelids. The swelling is made all the more discomforting due to discharge from the eyes.
Picture 1 – Watery Eyes because of Allergic Conjunctivitis
In Allergic Conjunctivitis watering eyes are another common difficulty. There is almost persistent discharge from the eyes which leads to blurry vision.
Covering of the white
Allergic Conjunctivitis causes the widened vessels in the transparent eye tissue to cover the white of the eye.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Causes
As aforesaid, Allergic Conjunctivitis is caused due to exposure of the eyes to allergens. On exposure to allergenic substances, the immune system suspects an infectious or cancerous attack on the body cells. The mast cells release an organic compound known as histamine as a natural reaction to this. This leads to inflammation of the blood vessels in the Conjunctiva. Naturally, the eyes take on a swollen appearance to block the foreign substances. All the symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis arise due to this condition.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Triggers
Common allergens that trigger Allergic Conjunctivitis are
- Cosmetic products
Animal secretions, eye drops and skin medicines are also found responsible in some cases. Pet saliva, hairs and fur can also give rise to allergies of the Conjunctiva.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Diagnosis
The diagnosis of Allergic Conjunctivitis is generally made through clinical studies. People suspected to be having Allergic Conjunctivitis have to undergo a physical examination. If diagnosis of the disorder becomes difficult, a number of tests may be performed for diagnosis.
Conjunctival scrapes are usually taken and analysed in the laboratory to check for presence of allergens. Doctors look for white blood cells known as Eosinophils in eye secretions and conjunctival scrapings. Skin test is also often useful in detecting suspected allergens.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Differential Diagnosis
Allergic Conjunctivitis should be clearly differentiated from other similar diseases like
- Infectious Conjunctivitis
- Vernal Conjunctivitis
- Viral Conjunctivitis
- Toxic Conjunctivitis
- Bacterial Conjunctivitis
- Acne Rosaceae
- Dry eye
Allergic Conjunctivitis Treatment
Allergic Conjunctivitis is usually treated with the aid of drugs. In Allergic Conjunctivitis over the counter drugs are used along with decongestants for treatment. Pheniramine-naphazoline (Naphcon-A) and Antazoline-naphazoline (Vasocon-A) are used for curing the condition.
If the condition fails to improve with this therapy, the next line of therapy involves the use of selective H1 receptor antihistamines like epinastine (Elestat), ketotifen (Zaditor), azelastine (Optivar), olopatadine (Patanol) and levocabastine (Livostin). Antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drops are directly put into the eye.
Nonsteroidal medicines such as Voltaren (diclofenac) ophthalmic solution and mast cell stabilizers like Alocril (nedocromil), Elestat (epinastine), Patanol (olopatadine) and Zaditor (ketotifen) are quite useful in treating the symptoms of this disorder.
In acute stages, mild steroid drops may be administered on the eye surface for a brief duration under medical supervision. Eye drops that prevent mast cells from releasing histamines may also be used in some cases. Artificial tears are also useful in reducing discomforts in mild cases of the disorder.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Prognosis
Allergic Conjunctivitis lasts as long as the allergens are around. People having Allergic Conjunctivitis can expect the condition to go away within a week with proper treatment. The period of Allergic Conjunctivitis recovery actually depends on the extent of exposure to allergens. Greater exposure takes more time to recover.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Prevention
If Allergic Conjunctivitis is anticipated, it can be prevented with the aid of mast cell stabilizing drops such as Sodium Cromoglycate Orketotifen. If you have dust allergy, you can use air conditioning instead of opening the windows. Avoid going out in gardens or places where pollen count is high. It is also advisable that you avoid using fans in closed and dirty spaces.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Natural Treatment
Some of the main Allergic Conjunctivitis natural remedies are
Applying cold compresses
Soak a clean washcloth with cold water and place it over the affected eye or eyes. Cold compress helps subside the inflammation and provide relief from itching symptoms.
Cool water splash
Bending head downwards and splashing cool water over face is known to constrict the blood capillaries and provide temporary relief from discomforting symptoms.
Avoid rubbing your inflamed eyes with your hands. Rubbing will only worsen the inflammation thus making the condition more discomforting for you.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Herbal Remedies
Herbs and herbal preparations can also work as a wonderful cure for your Allergic Conjunctivitis problems. Know about some of the effective herbal remedies for this condition. Chandrodaya vati is an essential Ayurvedic preparation used to treat eye problems. The substance is mixed with water to form a paste and apply over the eyes externally. It is useful for treating Allergic Conjunctivitis as well as cataract problems. Other effective herbs include RoseMary, Burdock and Meadowsweet.
Bathing eyes in an extraction of Eyebright, Fennel Seed and Elder Flower (Sambucus Nigra) can also help reduce swelling and soreness in the eyes.
Allergic Conjunctivitis and Contact Lenses
In Allergic Conjunctivitis contact lenses are frequently seen to be the causative factor. Some varieties of contacts cause allergic inflammation in the wearer. It is reported to occur in 10-15% of wearers of hydrogel contact lenses and 1-5% wearers of firm, gas-permeable lenses. If you suspect yourself to be having Allergic Conjunctivitis due to a pair of new contacts, it is best to stop wearing them.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Management
Until Allergic Conjunctivitis is fully treated, it can be managed in the following ways.
Change the lens
In many cases, contact lenses are the reason behind the appearance of Allergic Conjunctivitis. It is advisable that the affected individual changes to a different lens in such cases.
It is best to avoid areas that are rich in allergens that can cause Allergic Conjunctivitis. Avoid venturing in areas that are polluted with dust particles and smoke. It is best to stay away from gardens and flowering plants if your doctor holds pollens responsible for your condition.
Cold artificial tears
Using cool artificial tears on your eyes can also help relieve the symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Testing
Tests are generally not held necessary for diagnosing Allergic Conjunctivitis. Doctors can detect the condition by physical examination of eyes and by asking a few questions to the affected person. However, if you have other kinds of allergenic symptoms apart from Allergic Conjunctivitis, it is best that you get in touch with an allergist and carry out the tests recommended to you.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Relief
If you are looking for temporary relief from Allergic Conjunctivitis you can try some over the counter eye drops and medicines. But it is best to consult an experienced doctor about the Allergic Conjunctivitis over the counter treatment that you plan to use. Home remedies like cold compress can also reduce the symptoms and give relief from discomfort.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Prevalence
Allergic Conjunctivitis is mostly prevalent during the spring and autumn seasons. Though various types of pollens circulate in air all year round, it is particularly during these two seasons that pollens are scattered the most. However, one can also be affected by grass pollen in summer months, flower and ragweed pollens in fall and tree pollens in spring and winter season.
The time of your contracting Allergic Conjunctivitis depends on the area that you live in and the proximity of flowering plants and trees to your home.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Pictures
Want to know how eyes affected by Allergic Conjunctivitis look like? Here are some useful Allergic Conjunctivitis photos for you. Take a look at these Allergic Conjunctivitis images and know all about the appearance of eyes with this condition.
Picture 2 – Allergic Conjunctivitis Image
Picture 3 – Allergic Conjunctivitis Photo
Allergic Conjunctivitis is a completely curable disease and produces no severe discomforts. In some cases however, the condition can recur from time to time. If you suspect your Conjunctivitis to be a result of exposure to allergens, it is best to start early cure. If the symptoms fail to resolve in a day or two, it is best to seek immediate medical treatment. This will help you recover within a few days and get back to the pink of health as before.