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Eye drops generally effective for conjunctivitis.

Eye drops are generally very effective and because they are applied topically, eye drops are usually free of many systemic side effects.

An allergic reaction that affects the conjunctiva, a clear layer of skin overlying the eyes, is commonly referred to as allergic apitherap, explains Dr Rajeev Kumar, Specialist Ophthalmologist, Zulekha Hospital Sharjah.

Allergic conjunctivitis is divided into several major subtypes, but the most common subtypes are seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) and perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC).

SAC and PAC are triggered by an immune reaction involving a sensitised individual and an allergen. Simply stated, this means that if you are allergic to a particular substance and then come into contact with it, you experience an allergic reaction (eg, itching, sneezing). Although it frequently occurs, allergic conjunctivitis is most commonly seen in areas with high seasonal allergens.

Common allergens include: pollen, grass, weeds, dust, pet dander etc. Almost always the symptom of itching indicate an allergic reaction. This is true of allergic conjunctivitis where the primary symptom is ocular itching. In addition to ocular itching, you may experience the following symptoms: Redness, tearing, burning sensation, blurred vision, mattering and/or mucous production.

Using the slit lamp, your ophthalmologist checks your eyes for dilated blood vessels, conjunctival swelling, and eyelid swelling, all of which are indicative of an allergic reaction. Rarely, scraping of the conjunctiva is performed to check for eosinophils. Eosinophils are certain cells that are commonly associated with allergies; however, they are only found in the most severe cases.

Avoidance of the allergen(s) is the mainstay in the treatment of allergies. If you can identify and avoid the particular agent that you are allergic to, your symptoms will improve dramatically.

To further help alleviate your symptoms, you may want to try these tips for self-care at home. Reduce the allergen load by minimising clutter where allergens can collect such as limit pillows, bedding, draperies, and other linens, such as dust ruffles and canopies, reduce the number of knickknacks that collect dust, minimise carpeting that can harbour dust mites, clean regularly and thoroughly to remove dust and mold, eliminate water leaks and standing water that encourage mold growth. Cover mattresses and pillows with allergen impermeable covers, keep outdoor allergens outdoors by keeping windows and doors closed. Avoid pet dander and other irritants.

Unfortunately, avoidance of the allergen(s) is not always easy or possible. In this case, the following at-home treatments may provide you with some relief from your ocular allergies.

Apply cold compresses to your eyes to help reduce the allergic reaction. Use artificial tears/lubricating eye drops as needed to help flush out allergens that get into your eyes.

Use medications such as allergy eye drops and oral antihistamines as directed for mild allergies. Eye drops are generally very effective and because they are applied topically, eye drops are usually free of many systemic side effects.

Most eye drops are used twice a day, and many can be used to prevent the allergic reaction in the first place. Unfortunately, other than avoidance of the allergen(s), PAC and SAC cannot be prevented.


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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Apr 25, 2014
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