There are thousands of different allergies going around in spring and summer, but there are a few that are very common and occur with frightening regularity. One of the allergies is allergic conjunctivitis, which affects the eyes through contact with allergens like pollen or spores. One of the reactions that are instantly noticeable is when the eyes become itchy, red, and teary. Because there are so many different types of pollen in the air, especially during spring and summer, it is difficult to identify and test what causes allergic conjunctivitis.
Research to document and collate this condition which affects millions of people in Europe and other countries is being studied by the EAACI which stands for The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, a non-profit organization very active in the field of immunologic and allergic cause and effect. Their clinical research covers a wide range of diseases and conditions like asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, food and drug allergies, and other types of conditions. One of the most common ocular allergies is allergic conjunctivitis and it affects millions of people all over the world. Most common allergic conjunctivitis symptoms are the sudden swelling, burning, and itching of eyelids along with a runny nose on some occasions.
Most common triggers for allergic conjunctivitis are pollen from grass, flowers, spores, household dust, dander, chemical products, etc. Allergic conjunctivitis symptoms have been shown to be present in individuals who are prone to allergies, and in some cases it could even be genetic. It should be mentioned that conjunctivitis can affect all kinds of people, though children and teens are most susceptible, especially if they live in areas with very high pollen in the atmosphere. To this effect EAACI is working with researchers, clinicians and others specializing in ENT infections and allergies to come up with solutions to control this problem.
There are 3 main types of allergic conjunctivitis i.e., bacteria, viral and allergic conjunctivitis which affects one eye or both.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is a common type of pink eye, caused by bacteria that infect the eye through various sources of contamination. The bacteria can be spread through contact with an infected individual, exposure to contaminated surfaces or through other means such as sinus or ear infections.
The most common types of bacteria that cause bacterial conjunctivitis include Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Bacterial conjunctivitis usually produces a thick eye discharge or pus and can affect one or both eyes.
As with any bacterial infection, antibiotics are required to eliminate the bacteria. Treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis is typically accomplished with topical antibiotic eye drops and/or eye ointments. The treatment usually takes from one to two weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
Viral conjunctivitis is another common type of pink eye that is highly contagious, because airborne viruses can be spread through sneezing and coughing. Viral conjunctivitis also can accompany common viral upper respiratory infections such as measles, the flu or the common cold.
Viral conjunctivitis usually produces a watery discharge. Typically the infection starts in one eye and quickly spreads to the other eye.
Unlike with bacterial infections, antibiotics will not work against viruses. No eye drops or ointments are effective against the common viruses that cause viral conjunctivitis. But viral conjunctivitis is self-limited, which means it will go away by itself after a short time.
Typically with viral conjunctivitis, the third through the fifth days are the worst. After that, eyes begin to improve on their own.
Treatment of viral conjunctivitis usually involves supportive therapies, such as eye drops, that help reduce the symptoms: for example, vasoconstrictors to whiten the eye, decongestants to reduce the surface swelling and antihistamines to reduce occasional itching. Treatments usually are continued for one to two weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
Allergic conjunctivitis caused by eye allergies is very common. Eye allergies, like other types, can be triggered by allergens including pollen, animal dander and dust mites.
The most common symptom of allergic conjunctivitis is itchy eyes, which may be relieved with special eye drops containing antihistamines to control allergic reactions. These eye drops are available both over the counter and by prescription.
Avoiding the allergen is also important in the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis can be seasonal or perennial (year-round), depending on the allergen causing the reaction.
Current Available Remedies
Some of the other allergic conjunctivitis symptoms found in different patients includes redness, itchiness, gritty sensation in the eyes, sensitivity to light, blurry vision, and in some cases the eyelids get stuck after sleep. Some of the treatments recommended by EAACI for this condition include reducing or cutting down exposure to the allergen causing the problem i.e., dust, pollen, food, drugs, or any other item causing this condition.
Medications available to treat this include antihistamines, anti-inflammatory, eye drops, etc., but currently, there is no foolproof cure for this condition, except following the do’s and don’ts mentioned above, but with all the scientists, researchers, and doctors working on this problem, there may be a solution pretty soon to this allergy.