Inflammation of conjunctiva (Transparent membrane covering white part of the eye) is called Conjunctivitis. It is a condition where the eye turns red. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused due to allergy. The agents which cause allergies are known as allergens. Every individual is allergic to one or other substance in the environment. The most common allergens are dried grass, pollen grains etc. List of allergens are endless and individual specific. When an individual who is prone for allergy; get exposed to allergens, it causes release of some chemicals in tissue e.g. Histamines by allergy mediating cells like Mast cells. It causes itching, redness, and watering from eyes. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious unlike the traditional red eye or infective conjunctivitis.
Below we have mentioned some of the many signs of allergic conjunctivitis:
Routine examination by an eye doctor is sufficient. Some signs are very specific for allergic conjunctivitis like papillae, ropy discharge, limbal hyperplasia. To find out specific allergens, Allergy test can be done in individuals who are prone for generalized systemic allergy like asthma, eczema, Atopy etc. Otherwise, such tests are not recommended as avoidance to these allergens is practically cumbersome in routine life.
Before getting to allergic conjunctivitis treatment, it is imperative to understand that complete cure of allergy is not feasible, but symptoms of allergy can be suppressed with the help of medicines. Rubbing of eyes due to itching causes more trouble to eyes than allergy itself, so intense rubbing of eyes should be avoided.
Avoidance of allergens is the IDEAL treatment but it’s easier to say than done as it will severely hamper lifestyle and quality of life. How long the allergic conjunctivitis lasts depend on the type, severity and the treatment taken along with the compliance for the treatment.
Medicines in the form of eye drops like mast cell stabilizers (Olopatadine, Sodium Cromoglycate), antihistamines (Ketotifen, Bepotastine), NSAID ( ketorolac), Steroids (loteprednol, FML, Difluprednate, Prednisolone etc), immune modulators (Cyclosporine, Tacrolimus eye ointment), are useful in treating allergic conjunctivitis.
Any eye drops should not be started without an ophthalmologist opinion to avoid its side effects.
Using sunglasses while going out, cold compression can alleviate allergic symptoms and serve as a useful home remedy for eye itching.
As mentioned above, there are four types of eye allergies or allergic conjunctivitis. The moment you start witnessing any signs or symptoms of an allergic eye, quickly get in touch with your ophthalmologist to seek expert medical advice. Since they have all the right knowledge and equipment, they will ensure that you receive the best treatment.
However, on the other hand, there are some home remedies for the treatment of conjunctivitis that might or might not be effective. Below we have mentioned some of the many remedies that you can try out:
Four types of allergic conjunctivitis are perennial allergic conjunctivitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, giant papillary conjunctivitis and phlyctenular keratoconjunctivitis. Below have mentioned each type of allergic eye in a brief yet detailed manner:
Most types of conjunctivitis are caused by herpes simplex and adenovirus. Both these types can occur with respiratory infections and other symptoms related to cold like sore throat. On the other hand, if you wear unclean contact lenses, there is a chance you might develop bacterial conjunctivitis.
Both these viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are contagious as they can spread through indirect or direct contact with the liquid present in the infected person’s eye.
It is imperative to practice good hygiene to control the spread of allergic conjunctivitis. Below we have carefully curated a list of preventive measures you can take to keep pink eye at bay: