- Conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye conditions.
- It is often called “red eye”. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and helps keep your eyelid and eyeball moist.
- Red eye caused by allergens is called allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. It cannot be transferred from one person to another.
- Allergic conjunctivitis is common in people who have other signs of allergic disease such as hay fever, asthma and eczema.
- The cause of allergic conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction of the body’s immune system to an allergen.
- The most common allergens that cause conjunctivitis are:
- Pollen from trees, grass and ragweed
- Animal skin and secretion such as saliva
- Perfumes and cosmetics
- Skin medicines
- Air pollution
- Smoke, dust mites, eye drops
- It is important to find out whether your red eye is caused by allergies or infection because each condition has different treatment.
Symptoms & Signs
- Typical symptoms and signs of allergic conjunctivitis include :
- Redness of both eyes
- Itching and burning of both the eye and surrounding tissues
- Watery discharge, often accompanied by acute discomfort in bright sunlight (photophobia)
- The conjunctiva itself may become very swollen and look light purple and this may interfere with clarity of vision
- Eyelids may also be affected by an allergic reaction, causing the loose tissue of the lid to become swollen with subsequent drooping of the eyelid.
- Common Types and Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis
|Primary Complaints||Itching, Often Severe||Burning, Irritation, Discomfort||Irritation|
|Discharge||Minimal Pinkish or Milky||Minimal||Profuse, Whitish Purulent|
|Other Findings||Nasal &/or Chest Symptoms||Occasional Sore Throat & Fever||Occasional Lid Swelling|
- In cases of severe swelling, the lids cannot open and the gap between the upper and lower lids becomes slit like.
- It is important to refer urgently to an eye specialist if have blurred vision or corneal haze.
- May be associated with asthmatic attack due to allergen.
- Treatment depends on severity and cause of symptoms.
- Identifying and removing the cause of allergic conjunctivitis. If possible the allergic cause has been confirmed from allergy testing.
- It is also important to exclude the presence of a foreign body
- Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis are generally mild to moderate and respond to bathing eyes with cold water, ice packs and cold water compression.
- If severe symptoms, please see doctor and require medication such as :
- topical medications ( eye drops)
- oral antihistamines( tablets)
- allergen immunotherapy for specific allergens – this may benefit people with persistent, severe allergic conjunctivitis.
- Allergic conjunctivitis may disappear completely, either when the allergy is treated with antihistamines, or when the allergen is removed.
- The best defense against allergic conjunctivitis is to simply avoid contact with substances that trigger your allergies.
- Other tips include:
- Don’t touch or rub your eye(s)
- Wash hands often with soap and water
- Wash your bed linens, pillowcases with hot water and detergent to reduce allergens
- Avoid wearing eye makeup
- Do not share eye makeup
- Never use other’s contact lenses
|Last Reviewed||:||21 July 2016|
|Writer||:||Dr. Sanidah bt. Md. Ali|
|Accreditor||:||Dr. Ho Bee Kiau|