Allergic conjunctivitis is brought about by exposure to irritants or allergens. This instigates an allergic response once the eyes are exposed. The usual culprits include dust, pollen, smoke, perfumes, animal hair and even cosmetics.
In most cases, the symptoms settle after a few days once the triggers are removed. Remember though that the symptoms might recur if exposure occurs again.
What are the risk factors?
- Occupational or environmental exposure to allergens such as pollen, mold, dander, dust, smoke, detergents, fumes and chemical pollutants.
- Family history of allergies
- Regular use of contact lenses
What are the signs?
Generally, most of the signs often arise after exposure to the allergens, but some reactions can be delayed such as:
- Redness and itchiness of the eyes
- Eye pain and inflammation along with a gritty sensation within the eye
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Persistent drainage of watery fluid from the eyes
Management of allergic conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis is treated by avoiding exposure to the potential triggers, management of the symptoms and controlling the immune response of the body.
Some of these measures include:
- Avoiding outdoor allergens and controlling any indoor allergens. In most cases, once the potential allergen is eliminated, the condition clears.
- Apply a cold compress to lessen any discomfort.
- Drug such as oral antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers can be given based on the symptoms and their frequency. Corticosteroids might also be given as well as anti-inflammatory or lubricating eye drops.
- Immunotherapy is performed to desensitize the body and prevent the body from overreacting to any external triggers. This is a suggested option if a severe allergic reaction does not respond well to treatment or if there are other health conditions present.
- Avoid using contact lenses during this period. It is recommended to use glasses instead.