Allergic conjunctivitis explained

PHYLLIS LOGIE By PHYLLIS LOGIE, 14th Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Allergies

Allergic Conjuncitivitis is an acute eye condition affecting the thin membrane covering the eyeball. The most surceptible groups are children and young adults. Between ten and twenty percent fall victim to the condition annually.

Allergic conjuncitivitis ('pink-eye') affects the thin memberane of the eyeballs

Allergic conjunctivitis is sometimes also known as ‘pink eyes’. It is an acute ocular condition, (although in rare cases it can become chronic) whereby the conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane covering the eyeballs also called the sclera, becomes red and inflamed with the most common cause for its deveopment is hay fever.

10 to 20% of the US population suffer from conjunctivitis and although it can occur at any age, children and young people are the most susceptible to the inflammation.

The following symptoms have a gradual onset, brought about by the release of histamines and apart from the redness, swelling can also occur due to the dilation of the blood vessels. Itching and grittiness under the eyelids cause irritation to the nerve endings in the tear duct causing the eyes to water in some case profusely. The congestion cause the eye to become sticky, particularly noticeable after a night’s sleep, when a dry crust forms often causing the eye lashes to stick together, making the eyes difficult to open on first waking.

The cause can be either bacterial or viral, although other causes may include irritation by tobacco smoke, cosmetics, perfume, pollen, animal secretions (saliva), skin ointments, dust mites which can be found in every home, mould spores, eye drops and any other substance that might be an irritant to the individual.

If left untreated it could last as long as two to three weeks, however with treatment, the condition clears up much sooner. Although simple cases of conjunctivitis does no affect the eyesight, it must be borne in mind that conjunctivitis could well be the sign of a much more serious underlying eye disease, therefore it is wise decision to have it checked by the physician.

As a first aid measure the eyes should be bathed with clean water that has previously been boiled to help soothe the itchiness, whilst the application of a cold compress can also be beneficial.In any event if the symptoms fail to improve within two to three days, this is also cause to consult the physician who will take a detailed history of the symptoms in an effort to establish the source of the allergens or irritants. Once these have been identified they should be avoided as far as possible.

The eyes should be left open and exposed and not be covered with patches, as these could encourage further infection with sometimes disastrous consequences. Anti-histamine and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are two safe and effective options that are usually prescribed to treat and stabilize the symptoms.

Wearers of contact lenses are very susceptible to repeated bouts of conjunctivitis, this is largely due to the insertion of the lens with dirty hands, making good hand hygiene is essential part of contact the wearer's regime. When conjunctivitis occurs, glasses should be worn instead of contact lens until the symptoms have completely subsided.

In its chronic form the symptoms are continuous occurring year-round and it is not brought on by non-seasonal. This is because the sufferer is continually exposed the the allergens which causes the symptoms. Conjunctivitis can sometimes be misdiagnosed as ‘dry-eye' syndrome, this is because in cases of chronic conjunctivitis there is only the burning and itching sensation, without the redness and inflammation, whilst light-sensitivity can also sometimes become a problem.

Research has found that conjunctivitis can not only cause physical discomfort, but it can also affect the sufferer’s social life, causing a curtailment of certain activities which can inevitably impact on their quality of life.

Tags

Allergens, Allergic, Allergic Pollen, Allergic Reaction, Allergies, Allergy, Allergy Treatment, Conjuctivitis

Meet the author

author avatar PHYLLIS LOGIE
I am a retired female who has been writing for the past five years. My favorite topics are history and biographies.

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Comments

author avatar Songbird B
15th Apr 2011 (#)

Good article about health care and vision...Great share..

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