Allergic conjunctivitis can cause mild to moderate symptoms including redness. This condition usually responds to non-medicated treatment but oftentimes, the symptoms can become severe and incapacitating such as grittiness and burning as well as swollen eyelids. Unlike with the forms triggered by bacteria, this type is not contagious.
Close look on conjunctivitis
The conjunctiva is a tissue layer that lines the anterior part of the eyeball and the interior of the eyelids. It is responsible for protecting the eye from bacteria, smoke and allergens in the air as well as the detrimental effects of wind and the sun.
Conjunctivitis involves inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye which turns red, swollen and has drainage. This can be triggered by infection by viruses or bacteria, allergies as well as chemical or physical irritation. The treatment is based on the possible cause and the severity of the condition.
What are the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis?
The usual indications of allergic conjunctivitis include the following:
- Redness in both eyes
- Watery drainage that is often accompanied by minimal discomfort if exposed to bright light.
- Itchiness and burning sensation in both eyes and the surrounding tissues.
- Conjunctiva appears swollen and has a light purple appearance that can disrupt vision
In most cases, the eyelids are also affected which causes the loose tissues of the lid to swell up with subsequent drooping of the eyelid. If there is significant swelling, the lids could not be opened and the gap between the lower and upper lids becomes slit-like in appearance.
Pinpointing and eliminating the exact cause of allergic conjunctivitis is ideal if the potential triggers have been confirmed via allergy testing.
The indications of allergic conjunctivitis are usually mild to moderate and respond to simple measures such as bathing the eyes using cold water, application of ice packs or a cold water compress. There are also topical lubricants that can be used to flush out the allergens from the tear film. Nevertheless, the symptoms might be severe and incapacitating, thus medications are required.
- Antihistamine eye drops – these work by reducing the itchiness and redness of the affected eye
- Vasoconstrictor eye medications – these are used 2 times a day with minimal side effects
- Steroid eye drops – these are effective in alleviating the symptoms but often leads to undesirable side effects. These drops must be used for a short period of time under the instructions given by the doctor
- Mast cell stabilizers
These medications are used in some individuals if avoidance measures are difficult. Nevertheless, the side effects include dry eyes, mouth and nose as well as blurred vision.
This can greatly benefit individuals who suffer from severe, persistent allergic conjunctivitis. Nevertheless, relief of the symptoms usually takes a longer time than the nasal symptoms.