Allergic conjunctivitis usually happens when the persons eye come in contact with an allergen.The main cause of conjunctivitis is due to the inflammation of conjunctiva which is a thin membrane on white eye ball of inner eyelids.
This makes eye to become sore and inflamed and it even leads to light pink or red color. These symptoms are due to over reaction of immune system which makes the body to release histamine and other active substances through mast cells.
This may lead to expansion of dilated vessels in blood and causes irritation in nerve endings.
The most common causes of allergies are pollen, house dust mites, cosmetics and in rare cases problem with contact lenses.
Let us see some more causes, treatment and diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis including symptoms in this article.
What Causes Allergic Conjunctivitis:
Allergy defines when the immune system overreacts with something unusual and becomes sensitive. The symptoms of immune system include redness of eyes, itching and constant tears in eyes.
Some of the causes include the following:
Seasonal Conjunctivitis due to Pollen and Mold Pores:
Seasonal conjunctivitis includes pollen and mold pores which are quite common especially in spring or late summer and early fall that disappear in winter seasons.
These allergens may also lead to other symptoms like sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes.Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is also known as hay fever.
This conjunctivitis happens mostly due to house dust mites. These are microscopic insects which can be found mainly in bedrooms, carpets and upholstered furniture.
People with perennial conjunctivitis often have perennial allergic rhinitis. These dust mites eat skin cells shed by people and live in warm and humid environments.
This conjunctivitis also include many range of problems including blocked or runny nose, sneezing and contraction of the airways.
These contact conjunctivitis are caused by cosmetics, eye drops or other chemicals which irritate conjunctiva in those who are susceptible.
Contact to any of these substances may lead to allergic symptoms and the symptoms may develop within 2 to 4 days after it comes in contact with allergy.
Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis:
This is the inflammation of conjunctiva that happens to upper eye lid. This can get progressively worse and increasingly uncomfortable causing the eyes to become red.
The exact cause of inflammation is undefined; it is possibly an allergic reaction or poor hygiene lens.Giant papillary conjunctivitis may also occur, if a person uses hard lenses after an eye surgery.
Allergies to Animals:
Some animals may also cause allergies of conjunctivities, this usually comes from allergy to hair or dust of animals.
This is one of the most severe type of conjunctivitis and allergy. It is most commonly seen in people who are aged between 5 to 20 years and people who have asthma, eczema and seasonal allergies.
Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis:
The symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis usually affect both eyes and may appear suddenly or after coming into contact with allergen.Some of the symptoms include as follows:
- Eyes are itchy
- Eyes look red and sore
- The white ball of eye becomes red or pink
- Eyes produce more water than usual.
- Swollen eyelids
- Vision is not affected
- Runny nose and sneezing in seasonal allergic conjunctivitis
- Perennial conjunctivitis occurs throughout the year and affects both the eyes.
- Inflammation of eye lids
- Appearance of small spots on the upper eye lid
- In severe cases, the conjunctiva under the upper eyelid may swell and looks lumpy
Complications of Allergic Conjunctivitis:
Complications are very rare in seasonal and perennial allergic conjunctivitis.Most forms of allergic conjunctivitis are very mild, but severity may occur in some cases.
Where the cornea may become inflamed and form ulcers. This condition is known as keratitis which is formed by giant allergic conjunctivitis; it may even lead to loss of vision.
Common symptoms of keratitis are
- Intense pain in eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Blur vision
- Feeling of having something in eye
- Watery eyes
If the person has these symptoms, then he/she should immediately consult your physician.
Patient has to be examined by the doctor by giving every little information about allergy conjunctivitis what you have faced.
Apart from allergic conjunctivitis, the eyes may inflame due to infective conjunctivitis which is caused by bacteria or virus, acute glaucoma, keratitis and iritis.
Iritis is a condition inflammation of iris which is left untreated and stick to the lens, preventing vital fluid flow.
If the symptoms are severe then your doctor suggests you to reach eye specialist or ophthalmologist.
Treatment of Allergic Conjunctivitis:
Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with variety of medications such as antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers and non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids.
Treatments of allergic conjunctivitis also include:
- If symptoms are mild, no treatment is needed.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses until the conjunctivitis are cleared
- Stop using eye drops which contains preservatives
- Try not to rub your eyes because it increases the inflammation
- Your doctor may recommend some of the below medications to get rid of allergic conjunctivitis.
- Topical decongestants: These medications are useful to reduce the redness in eyes and should not be used for long time. Because it may worsen symptoms.
- Topical antihistamines: these medications is also useful to reduce the redness, swelling or inflammation of eye by blocking histamine. A chemical component which is the cause for symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
- Systematic medications: these are used in severe conditions.
Preventive Measures of Allergic Conjunctivitis:
The best way to prevent allergen is to find out the cause of allergen and try to avoid it.
If the allergens are from pets:
- Keep pets out of the bed room
- Bath them daily
If the allergens are due to pollens:
- Avoid areas with lot of grass
- Try to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
- Keep doors and windows shut
If dust mites are the cause for allergen:
- Avoid soft furnishing
- Avoid anti allergenic mattresses
- Use a vacuum cleaner often