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Diagnosing, Treating, and Preventing Allergic Conjunctivitis

Thursday, July 24, 2014 @ 08:07 PM
Author: admin


You’ve probably heard of allergic conjunctivitis before, and maybe you’ve even had it. In those cases though, your doctor may have called it by its more common term: pink eye. Both names describe parts of the condition; conjunctivitis refers to your eye’s conjunctiva, which is your eyelid’s tissue. Pink eye refers to the color that your eyes turn once the conjunctiva becomes irritated from allergic conditions.

If you’ve never experienced allergies before, it’s important to know that pink eye can be caused by a number of other situations and factors, according to WebMD. For example, too much chlorine in a pool, exposure to bacteria, shampoo in the eyes, smoke of any kind in the eyes, and debris and dirt in the eyes can also cause allergic reactions. However, in the instance of allergic conjunctivitis, you tend to experience different symptoms than if the irritation is caused by those factors above. Those symptoms include blurry or fuzzy vision, excessive tear production, swollen conjunctiva or eyelids, and of course that red/pink color. One of your eyes may be worse than the other, but generally both of your eyes will experience these symptoms when you have a reaction.

Generally, a number of irritants will cause pink eye in those that have allergic conjunctivitis. Certain kinds of makeup, certain brands of eye drops, colognes and perfumes, dust mites, medications meant for the skin, and a type of flavoring called Balsam of Peru can all be culprits. If you normally experience an allergic reaction to animals or pollen, this could also cause your eyes to become irritated.

If you notice that you have an allergic reaction similar to pink eye, then you should make an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist, WebMD suggests. Your regular doctor can also suffice. These various types of doctors can all review your symptoms and diagnose you with allergic conjunctivitis.

Once you’re diagnosed, you can discuss treatment options with your doctor. Pink eye can actually be treated in a number of ways. For some people, staying away from the allergens that cause a reaction as listed above can actually lead to the disappearance of symptoms. For others, an over-the-counter antihistamine used to treat other types of allergies can put a dent in your uncomfortable symptoms.

In other cases, you may need certain types of medication to reduce your allergic conjunctivitis. Ocular antihistamines are those that you apply in the eye to directly reduce itchiness, swelling, and irritation to your eyes. Ocular mast cell stabilizers have a similar function to antihistamines. Ocular decongestants will clear up that red/pinkish color so reminiscent of pink eye. However, WebMD does caution that while you can use oral antihistamines for as long as necessary, you shouldn’t use ocular decongestants for nearly as long.

In case the ocular antihistamines, ocular mast cell stabilizers or ocular decongestants aren’t really helping to treat your pink eye, ocular steroids can. These are stronger than the other medications and could harm the eyes and therefore you cannot take them alone. Instead, your doctor will administer them for a limited amount of time. According to WebMD, you could possibly develop cataracts later in life after using ocular steroids, which is why these are used as a last resort only.

Another last resort option involves orally receiving the above medications as well as steroids to treat pink eye. However, such a strong treatment only occurs very rarely in the case of extremely bad allergies.

If you don’t want to take medications, you also have another treatment option. You can ask your doctor about immunotherapy. While immunotherapy is available as a pill that you can take, most of the time a doctor will administer shots instead. These shots eventually help you develop an immunization to the allergens that cause your pink eye, just as the name suggests. In the shots or the pills is a portion of your allergen so that your body can adjust to it. WebMD notes that these shots persist at least weekly for a few months at first. Eventually, you can reduce the frequency of how often you visit your doctor, going every couple of weeks. Treatments can last up to three years in some cases and five in more severe cases.

Allergic conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, causes irritation and swelling in the eye as well as that distinct pink color. Allergens like perfume and pet dander can cause pink eye. When you make an appointment with your doctor, you can receive a number of treatments like oral eye drops or even immunization shots or pills to eventually treat your irritation.

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