What Is Allergic Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctiva is a clear layer of skin like thin membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and the whites of the eyes. When this layer gets affected by allergy it is called allergic conjunctivitis.
What Causes Allergic Conjunctivitis?
Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by allergy causing substances in air (pollen, grass, weed, dust, pet dander) that come in contact with the eye. These substances cause certain cells in the eye to release chemicals that lead to swelling of blood vessels in the eye and the eyes become itchy, red, and watery.
What Are The Symptoms Of Allergic Conjunctivitis?
- Itchy eyes
- Swelling of eye
- Burning sensation
- Blurred vision
- Sticky eye and/or dirt collection
- You may have other allergies like eczema, seasonal allergies, or a specific allergy (e.g., to cats)
Will I Get This Allergy Repeatedly?
Allergy can occur suddenly, seasonally or throughout the year.
- Acute allergic conjunctivitis comes suddenly when a person comes in contact with a known allergy causing substances such as cat dander
- Contact with cosmetics, medicines
- Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is caused especially by tree pollens in the spring, grass pollens in the summer, and weed pollens in the late summer and fall
- Perennial allergic conjunctivitis is a mild, allergic conjunctivitis present throughout the year usually due to indoor allergy causing substances such as dust, mites, animal dander, and molds
- Contact lenses can cause long term allergy
Can It Be Dangerous?
Usually the allergy may not be dangerous but sometimes it can come along with conditions which harm vision, such as-
- Keratoconjunctivitis: the cornea (the central clear portion of the eye) is affected; most often associated with atopic skin disease
- Secondary infections
- Conjunctival scar
What Is The Treatment For Allergic Conjunctivitis?
- Use cold packs
- Lubricating tear drops
- Anti allergic tablets and drops
- Anti inflammatory drops
- Steroid drops
How Can I Protect My Eyes From Allergy?
- Avoid the allergy causing substances if possible. E.g. contact lens, drugs
- Limit pillows, bedding, drapes, and other linen where dust can collect
- Minimize carpeting that can harbor dust mites
- Clean regularly and thoroughly to remove dust and mold
- Eliminate water leaks and standing water that encourage mold growth
- Cover mattresses and pillows with allergen impermeable covers
- Use allergen filters in both the furnace and the air conditioner in your home. Also, be sure to change them regularly
- Keep outdoor allergy causing substances out by keeping windows and doors closed
- Avoid pet dander and other irritants