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Understanding Allergic Conjunctivitis

Thursday, June 12, 2014 @ 08:06 PM
Author: admin

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Allergic conjunctivitis is a condition that makes the eyes red, itchy, and possibly watery. This condition occurs when the eyes are exposed to substances like pollen or mould spores. This condition is actually more common than most people realize. as it affects approximately one-fifth of the population. When your eyes get red, itchy, and watery it is just your body’s way of trying to get rid of a substance it considers potentially harmful.

Types of Allergic Conjunctivitis

There are generally two main types of allergic conjunctivitis, acute allergic conjunctivitis and chronic allergic conjunctivitis. These two types have the nearly the same symptoms and are very similar except that the acute version of this condition is short term and the chronic version is more long term.

Acute allergic conjunctivitis is more common of the two and generally occurs during allergy season. The unique symptoms of acute allergic conjunctivitis are swollen eyelids, itchy or burning eyes, and you may also experience a runny nose.

The much less common condition, chronic allergic conjunctivitis is something that can be experienced all year round. This is a response to things like food, dust, or animal dander. The most common symptoms of chronic allergic conjunctivitis are burning and itchy eyes, however, you may also experience some sensitivity to light as well.

What Are The Most Common Causes?

Your body decides that a foreign substance is a threat, so your body reacts in a defensive method which is known as allergic conjunctivitis. Any substance that triggers the release of histamine in the body will create this type of reaction. Histamine is a potent chemical that is naturally produced by your body to fight off any foreign and potentially harmful substances.

Some of the more common substances that cause this type of reaction are household dust, pollen from trees and grass, mould spores, animal dander, or chemical scents such as some detergents or perfume. Some people will also experience allergic conjunctivitis as a reaction to certain medications and such that are dropped into the eyes (like contact lens solution or medicated eye drops).

People who have allergies are much more likely to develop allergic conjunctivitis over time, however, it is more common in children and young adults rather than older people. Generally speaking, if you have allergies, and you live in an area that has a high pollen count, you are much more susceptible to allergic conjunctivitis than someone who does not have allergies or that does not live in such a high pollen area.

How Allergic Conjunctivitis Is Diagnosed

The first step to figuring out if you are dealing with allergic conjunctivitis is to have your eyes examined by your doctor. It is at this time that your eye care professional will likely go over your allergy history with you as well. The visible signs of conjunctivitis are redness in the white of the eye and/or very small bumps inside the eyelid. These little bumps are not something you will be able to see yourself, however, they are very irritating and may annoy you. Your eye care professional will be able to see these bumps with the assistance of the many tools they use during a regular eye exam to magnify the eye.

There are a few tests that your eye care professional may request you to undergo to ensure the condition is what he/she thinks it is. There is an allergy skin test which exposes your skin to specific allergens; consequently, your doctor will be able to examine how your body reacts to certain things. It is important to keep in mind that this test may result in swelling, redness, and some general discomfort.

Your eye care professional may require you to do some bloody tests to see if your body is producing the antibodies it needs to protect itself against specific allergens. The third test you may be asked to do is a scraping of the conjunctiva tissue. This type of test is done to evaluate your white blood cells. All of these tests may or may not be required, however, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the possibilities before jumping into a situation.

Treating Allergic Conjunctivitis the Natural Way

In an attempt to minimize the exposure you have to allergens, a combination of prevention strategies and activities are required. These methods will help to ease your symptoms and help you to get back to your life. If you live in an area with a higher pollen count, you may want to close the windows. Closing your windows will help you to keep the pollen outside where it belongs, outside.

You should try to keep your home as dust-free as possible. Dust is one of those things that never seems to want to let go of a home. You clean it and it returns the next day. If you have allergic conjunctivitis, and you want to ease your symptoms, it is important that you dust every day to avoid any dust build up. Additionally, if you use an indoor air purifier, you can ease the amount of allergens in your air.

Unfortunately, people who are prone to allergic conjunctivitis should avoid exposure to harsh chemicals such as hair dyes, paint, perfumes, or any other strong scent that may affect their condition. Unfortunately, rubbing your eyes will not help this situation. If you rub your eyes you will only make the issue worse. Should the itching and irritation get too much, you can ease some of the swelling and itchiness by placing a cool compress over your eyes for several moments.

Treating Allergic Conjunctivitis with Medication

Sometimes the allergic conjunctivitis is so severe that it is not curable with natural homeopathic remedies. When this is the case, medication may be necessary. Your eye care professional may tell you to take an oral, or over-the counter, antihistamine to reduce (or block) the histamine release within your body.

More commonly, anti-inflammatory eye drops, eye drops to shrink any congested blood vessels are more often used here. In the extremely rare case, steroid eye drops may be recommended. Should your eye care professional prescribe any of this to you, it is a really good idea to ask as many questions as possible and always follow the directions your eye care professional gives you.

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