• Allergic Conjunctivitis

    30th January, 2014
  • Allergic Conjunctivitis – Most Often Seasional

    Spring is the season that we are most likely to suffer red itchy eyes; this is a reaction to allergen’s in the air e.g. Pollen, dust. We end up with red itchy eyes.
    The over-the-counter eye drops that are anti-histamine based only give relief short term a few days, if used longer they can have a rebound inflammatory effect; that is they work for maybe an hour then the inflammation returns equal or more severe, requiring an increasing number of drops.
    For longer term relief “mast-cell stabilizers” or “non-steroid-anti-inflammatory” drop are required but these take several days to become effective and can be introduced with an anti-histamine drop.
    Patanol is a prescription drop that is a combination mast-cell stabilizer and anti-histamine but it is more expensive

    Allergic conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the white part of the eye) due to allergy. Although allergens differ between patients, the most common cause is hay fever. Symptoms consist of redness (mainly due to vasodilation of the peripheral small blood vessels), oedema (swelling) of the conjunctiva, itching and increased lacrimation (production of tears). If this is combined with rhinitis, the condition is termed allergic rhino conjunctivitis.

    The symptoms are due to release of histamine and other active substances by mast cells, which stimulate dilation of blood vessels, irritate nerve endings and increase secretion of tears.

    Treatment of allergic conjunctivitis is by avoiding the allergen (e.g. avoiding grass in bloom during the “hay fever season”) and treatment with antihistamines, either topical (in the form of eye drops), or systemic (in the form of tablets). Antihistamines, medication that stabilizes mast cells, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are safe and usually effective.

    The conjunctiva is a thin membrane that covers the eye. When an allergen irritates the conjunctiva, common symptoms that occur in the eye include: ocular itching, eyelid swelling, tearing, photophobia, watery discharge, and foreign body sensation (with pain).

    Allergic Conjunctivitis Often Seasional

    What Drops?
    Short term instant relief, Antihistamines maybe 2-5 days these should not be used long term due to rebound hyperaemia
    Mast Cell stabilizers and Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory are best for longer term relief but require 5-7 days use before reaching full strength
    Combination Anti-histamine/mast cell stabilizers are available

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