Twitter Facebook
Living With Allergies Magazine
Levrix - Fast Allergy & Hayfever Relief Licener - Head Lice Treatment Hedrin - Beat Head Lice Love your skin with Dermal Claratyne TCJ Kids Proper Crisps Proper Crisps NeilMed Sinus Rinse

» Previous Articles

Conjunctivitis - Tell Tale SignsConjunctivitis - Tell Tale Signs

Itchy eyes and wondering whether your conjunctivitis is due to an allergy or an infection? Dr Malcolm McKellar separates out the symptoms and offers some advice.

CONJUNCTIVITIS is the medical term for inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin layer of transparent tissue that covers the white of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids. The most common types of conjunctivitis are infectious conjunctivitis and allergic conjunctivitis. But how do you tell the difference? If your conjunctivitis is recurrent or chronic; develops during the day; you have itchy, watery eyes and other allergies, such as asthma, hayfever or eczema; and your lymph nodes are normal, chances are you have allergic conjunctivitis.

If, on the other hand, your conjunctivitis is one- off and accompanies another infection, for example a cold or flu; is worse in the morning, and you have gritty, sticky eyes and swollen lymph nodes, you very likely have infectious conjunctivitis.

Eye Allergies

Allergic Conjunctivitis – But Which Type?
There are three common types of allergic conjunctivitis – acute allergic conjunctivitis, chronic allergic conjunctivitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis.

1. Acute allergic conjunctivitis
This quite spectacular reaction typically occurs in children playing in long grass or with pets. The eyes are very itchy and watery, and eyelid swelling is common. Most cases resolve spontaneously within a few hours, and the best treatment is cool compresses.

2. Chronic allergic conjunctivitis
There are three types of chronic conjunctivitis: Hayfever conjunctivitis is the most common type. The main symptoms are itchiness and watering, which begin abruptly after exposure and resolve soon after the allergen is removed. Symptoms may be seasonal or occur year round. The eyelids may swell and darken, an appearance known as 'allergic shiners'.

Most sufferers are only too familiar with what causes their conjunctivitis. Common triggers include grass and tree pollens (seasonal allergic conjunctivitis) and animals, house dusts and mould (perennial allergic conjunctivitis).

Drug induced conjunctivitis: Every eyedrop and ointment can cause an allergic response, from a reaction either to the drug itself or to the preservative solution used to keep the bottle sterile. The reaction may occur within a few days of use or after many months of treatment. Patients typically complain of non-specific irritation and low-grade itch.

Vernal keratoconjunctivitis is a severe allergic conjunctivitis that usually occurs in patients with other allergies. In adults the disease is called atopic conjunctivitis. Symptoms typically begin in spring and are often severe. The eyes are extremely itchy, watery, 'burning' and very sensitive to light. In severe cases vision is reduced.

3. Giant papillary conjunctivitis
This much less common disease affects contact lens wearers and patients with artificial eyes. Large, cobblestone-like papillae (rounded protuberances) form on the inner surface of the upper eyelid...

Subscribe to read the full article »

Issue: Autumn 2016