Do your eyes start itching or turn red and watery in hay fever season? You could be suffering from allergic conjunctivitis. Millions of people across the world show allergy conjunctivitis signs. The good news is that, with the right treatment and education, you can contain symptoms and lead a better quality life.
Types of Allergic Conjunctivitis
Conjunctiva is a protective layer of tissue lining the inside of eyelids and covering the white portion of your eye. In sensitive people it can release certain chemical substances from mast cells in response to a variety of stimuli and cause allergy symptoms. Allergy conjunctivitis is of five types – seasonal (SAC), perennial (PAC), atopic keratoconjunctivitis (AKC), vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) and giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC). While the first two types are more common and mostly cause mild symptoms, the latter three types occur rarely but cause severe symptoms.
Most Common Causes
Allergy conjunctivitis symptoms can be caused due to a variety of factors. The most common causes for SAC include exposure to grass pollen, trees, weeds and air borne mold spores especially in late spring and early summer. Causes for PAC include exposure to animal dander, dust mites, mold spores, certain food additives, household cleaning agents and scented chemicals. Some people develop symptoms as a reaction to certain medications and contact lens solutions. Typical symptoms include intense itching on ocular surface of both eyes and surrounding tissue along with watery or red eyes.
Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis
The degree of symptom severity varies from person to person depending upon individual sensitivity. Itchy eyes are often accompanied by rhinitis symptoms and sometimes photophobia in people with SAC or PAC. In individuals with severe symptoms, the conjunctiva might appear red and swollen. Eyelids too may appear swollen. People with vernal keratoconjunctivitis develop thick eye discharge and painful sores on the cornea. General practitioners can easily diagnose the condition based on symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis displayed by patient. However, a consultation with an ophthalmologist is recommended for people with severe symptoms.
Diagnosis and Treatment
SAC and PAC are treated with non-steroidal eye drops, oral anti-histamine medications and artificial tears to flush out allergens. Sometimes, an ophthalmologist may recommend steroid eye drops or surgical intervention for severe cases. Patients with persistent or recurrent symptoms may consult a qualified allergist for correct identification of trigger agents. A variety of specialized investigative tests including specific IgE tests, prick tests and patch tests are available for accurately identifying allergens.
Where to Find Accurate Information?
Patients with allergic conjunctivitis symptoms need not suffer unduly. They can access useful resources as well as comprehensive information on treatment and management of allergic conjunctivitis on European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology's website (EAACI). EAACI is a world renowned NGO dedicated to collecting, assessing and dispersing accurate scientific information for a wide range of allergic and immunological diseases. Based on information provided on EAACI's website, patients can become empowered and enjoy a better quality life.
Ethan Moore is a well known writer providing informative articles on internet to spread awareness. He has written articles for many categories and now he is writing about Allergic Conjunctivitis .