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Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the thin tissue covering the eye caused by allergens. It leads to redness, itching, and swelling. It can be triggered by pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and medications. There are different types including seasonal, perennial, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and giant papillary conjunctivitis. Management involves avoiding allergens, using lubricating eye drops, antihistamines, cold compresses, and considering

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Allergic conjunctivitis is a common eye condition characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. It occurs when the eye comes into contact with substances that trigger an allergic reaction, leading to redness, itching, tearing, and swelling of the eyes. While it is not a serious condition, it can cause significant discomfort and affect a person's quality of life.

Causes and Triggers

Allergic conjunctivitis can be caused by various allergens, including pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and certain medications. When these substances enter the eye, they trigger an immune response, causing the release of chemicals such as histamine that cause inflammation and allergic symptoms. People with a history of other allergic conditions, such as hay fever or asthma, are more prone to developing allergic conjunctivitis.

Types of Allergic Conjunctivitis

There are several types of allergic conjunctivitis, including: 1. **Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis**: This type occurs during specific seasons when certain allergens, such as tree or grass pollen, are more prevalent. Symptoms typically include itching, redness, and watery eyes. 2. **Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis**: Unlike seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, this form can occur year-round and is usually caused by allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, or mold spores. 3. **Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis**: This is a more severe and rare form of allergic conjunctivitis that primarily affects young males. It is characterized by intense itching, sensitivity to light, and the formation of small, raised bumps on the inner surface of the eyelids. 4. **Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis**: Typically associated with contact lens wearers, this type of conjunctivitis is characterized by the formation of large, raised bumps on the conjunctiva. Symptoms may include itching, redness, and discomfort.

Management and Treatment

While there is no cure for allergic conjunctivitis, various treatments can help manage the symptoms and provide relief. These include: 1. **Avoidance of allergens**: When possible, identify and avoid the allergens that trigger your symptoms. This may involve keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons, using dust mite covers on pillows and mattresses, or minimizing exposure to pets if allergic to pet dander. 2. **Artificial tears**: Lubricating eye drops can provide relief from dryness and help flush out allergens from the eyes. 3. **Antihistamines**: Over-the-counter oral antihistamines or prescription eye drops can reduce itching and alleviate allergic reactions. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before using any medication. 4. **Cold compresses**: Applying a cold compress or washcloth to the eyes can help reduce swelling and soothe itching. 5. **Contact lens considerations**: If you wear contact lenses, follow proper lens hygiene, and consider switching to daily disposable lenses to minimize the risk of giant papillary conjunctivitis.

When to See a Doctor

While allergic conjunctivitis can often be managed with self-care measures, it is important to consult a doctor if: - Symptoms persist or worsen despite treatment. - Vision is affected. - There is severe pain or sensitivity to light. - There is a discharge from the eyes. - Both eyes are significantly swollen.


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