Do you have red itchy eyes? Are your eyes watery and swollen? If so, it is likely that you are suffering from allergic conjunctivitis, an allergic disease affecting your eyes. Allergic conjunctivitis is especially common among people with asthma or with an allergic condition called rhinitis that affects the mucous membranes of the nose causing sneezing, nasal congestion and nose run.
As a rule, allergic conjunctivitis appears when an allergen circulating the air sticks to the mucous membranes of the eyes. When this happens a reaction of the body is triggered, causing different substances, like histamine, to be released, which provokes the allergic symptoms. If you have hay fever your problems are seasonal, but if you are allergic to pets or dust mites you may have symptoms like, itchy, red and watery eyes all year round. Some are even experiencing skin irritations on the insides of their eyelids. Dry eyes and air pollution can make the symptoms worse. Allergic conjunctivitis is usually transitory and easily treated, but if your problems do not pass you should ask to be remitted to an eye specialist, who can perform a thorough examination, and if needed, prescribe some more effective medicines. You should not have to put up with symptoms affecting your eyes.
In rare cases, allergies affecting the eyes can become severe and chronic. Vernal conjunctivitis is one example of severe allergic conjunctivitis mostly affecting young boys. Those affected experience constant itch and sensitivity to light of the eyes, and this disease cannot be treated with ordinary allergy medicines. Fortunately the vernal conjunctivitis normally disappears with age.
Atopic keratoconjunctivitis is another type of eye allergy, which may lead to severe problems. It is an inflammatory disease that affects people with atopic eczema, causing eczema on the eyelids, chronic inflammation of the eyes (conjunctivitis) and a sore cornea. This disease often first appears in adolescence.
Severe eye allergy that is not treated properly can lead to permanent vision impairment, so it is important that a doctor investigates the symptoms if they do not disappear.
If you are allergic, the best way to avoid irritation of the eyes is to avoid the cause of your intolerance, and avoid rubbing your eyes. It's a good idea to avoid smoky spaces, swimming pool chemicals like chlorine, make-up and drafts. If that is not possible there are several allergy treatments available:
UK/GEN/15/0057d Date of preparation: December 2015